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From the collection of the 

7 ^ 

o Prelinger 
V XJibrary 



San Francisco, California 



AFL 6707 "'■-^ 

Reference Library 
Hq Fourfeen-h Air Force 
Robins Air Force Base, Georgia 





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The Story of Men Who Defied It 


Pi'lcK-m library 

Mn iouFUif.p;li Air Force --- 

K:b:.;s Ai: F,3f.e Base, Georgia 


© 1956 by Edward Hunter 
Library of Congress catalog card number 56-7817 

Published simultaneously in Canada by Ambassador 
Books, Ltd., Toronto. Manufactured in the U.S.A. 





Man and Dog ...... 17 

The Popular Version .... 26 

The Secret Manuscript .... 32 


Total Means "Everybody" . . . . 43 

"What a Scoop!" 44 

Sam Dean 50 

The Build-up 50 

The Inquisition 55 

John D. Hayes 64 

Encirclement 64 

Responsibility 70 

Hallucination 77 

Victory 83 


The Korean Miracle 89 

Simple Things 93 

The Golden Cross Club . . . . 101 

First Man Out 106 


Herb Marlatt 117 

Zach Dean 125 

Frank Noel 128 

Robert Wilkins 132 

Battle of Wits 144 

Crazy Week 148 



Brains .... 


Agony .... 




Subtlety and Horseplay 
The Coronation . 


Two Processes; Many Elements 
Some of the Elements . 
Threats and Violence 
Yalu Madness . 
Drugs and Hypnotism 
Confession . 


Dr. Leon Freedom 
National Neuroses 


Mental-Survival Stamina 
Faith and Convictions 
Clarity of Mind . 
Using One's Head 
Cutting Them to Size 







The new word hraimu ashing entered our minds and diction- 
aries in a phenomenally short time. This sinister political 
expression had never been seen in print anywhere until a 
few years ago. About the only times it was ever heard in 
conversation was inside a tight, intimate circle of trusted 
relatives or reliable friends in Red China during the short 
honeymoon period of communism. The few exceptions were 
when a Red indoctrinator would lose his temper and shout 
out, "You need a brainwashing." 

The reason the word was picked up so quickly was that it 
was not just a clever synonym for something already known, 
but described a strategy that had yet no name. A vacuum in 
language existed: no word tied together the various tactics 
that make up the process by which the communists expected 
to create their ''new Soviet man." 

The word came out of the sufferings of the Chinese people. 
Put under a terrifying combination of subtle and crude men- 
tal and physical pressures and tortures, they detected a pat- 
tern and called it brainwashing. The Reds wanted people to 
believe that it could be amply described by some familiar 
expression such as education, public relations, persuasion — ■ 
or by some misleading term like mind reform and re-educa-^ 
tion. None of these could define it because it was much, much 
more than any one of them alone. The Chinese knew they 
hadn't just been educated or persuaded; something much 
more dire than that had been perpetrated on them, similar 
in many peculiar ways to a medical treatment. 

What they had undergone was more like witchcraft, with 
its incantations, trances, poisons, and potions, with a strange 


4 Brainwashing 

flair of science about it all, like a devil dancer in a tuxedo, 
carrying his magic brew in a test tube. 

The communist hierarchy preferred people to believe that 
there was no such thing as brainwashing. So long as they 
could keep it concealed, without a name, opposition to it 
could be kept scattered and ineffective. As explained by Dr. 
Joost A. M. Meerloo, a psychiatrist of Dutch origin, in his 
book Conversation and Communication, it is practically im- 
possible to fight something until it has been given a name. 
"To name an object is to bring it within the sphere of human 
control," he wrote. "Without a name it arouses fear, because 
it is unknown. . . . Whoever knows the name has power." Dr. 
Meerloo coined the fine laboratory word menticide — murder 
of the mind — for this atrocious quack science devised by the 
Reds to bring about the voluntary submission of people to 
an unthinking discipline and a robotlike enslavement. The 
popular word remained brainwashing, for it has a flesh-and- 
blood quality which characterizes any expression arising out 
of real-life experience. 

The German-born Sinologue, Max Perleberg, who is fluent 
in both modern and classical Chinese, told me that the term 
might well have been derived from the Buddhist expression 
"heart-washing," which goes back to the time of Mencius. 
Heart-washing referred to the withdrawal into meditation of 
a middle-aged man — perhaps weary of worldly cares — living 
in a bare pavilion in some placid corner of his garden, leav- 
ing his offspring to attend to his business. 

The reaction among my newspaper colleagues in Hong 
Kong when the term was first introduced in print was typical 
of the horror, disbelief, and skepticism that it initially 
aroused everywhere. These newspapermen were human be- 
ings like everyone else, part of the public to whom they 
were reporting, susceptible to the same emotions and holding 
identical attitudes. 

An outstanding foreign correspondent came to me at once 
and exclaimed, "I knew that word!" 

"Then why didn't you use it?" I asked him. 

A New Word 5 

"Because it's such an ugly word," he retorted feelingly. 
"I never could persuade myself to put it down on paper." 

He was telling me the truth. He was a middle-aged man 
with Latin sensibilities. But making believe that brainwash- 
ing didn't exist could not make it disappear. Neither could 
people wish it away, any more than the witch doctor I re- 
cently watched in the interior of Ceylon could exorcise the 
evil spirits of kidney disease out of a Singhalese cook by all- 
night Kandyan dancing and frenetic tom-tom beating. The 
patient, after going through this costly nerve-deadening cere- 
mony, really believed that he was a well man again. He felt 
well, too; he was sure of it for more than a month. Then the 
old pain began racking his back again, fiercer than ever. 
Neither can brainwashing be exorcised by any journalistic 
mesmerism, nor by recourse to the comforting escape of 

Another colleague came to me and said, "You beat me to iti 
Congratulations!" He had first heard the word after the Reds 
came into Canton when he was taking a course at Ling Nan 
University. "I still remember how it sent shivers down my 
back," he said. "I couldn't forget the eerie sensation that I 
had gotten from that word hrainwashing. I wanted to find 
out everything I could about it. I hoped to do a book on it." 

"Why didn't you?" I asked him. 

"I was constantly discovering new material and could never 
get my story pieced together satisfactorily." This, too, was 
typical, especially in academic and research circles, where 
professors and investigators ordinarily don't dare publish 
their findings until they have obtained a complete picture 
of their subject, neatly framed and ready for the judgment 
of history. They feel that then their reputations are safe, 
no matter what the future brings forth. Of course, by that 
time nothing they say can affect a current situation. 

One correspondent, among those who had served the long- 
est in China, smiled knowingly when he first heard of brain- 
washing and asked if I was writing a novel. His was typical 
of the customary reactions, "Such things can't happen" and 
"I simply won't believe it." People closed their eyes to brain- 

6 Brainwashing 

washing. How much of this was calculated and how much 
naivete can be argued indefinitely. What was obvious was that 
the communists were very profitably exploiting the oppor- 
tunity this provided. 

After the exchange of prisoners of war in Korea, I was 
asked a number of times by repatriates, now sadder and wiser, 
"Why wasn't I told?" 

"If I had only been told, I don't believe it could have 
happened to me," they said. Colonel Frank H. Schwable, who 
confessed participation in a nonexistent germ warfare, and 
Corporal Claude Batchelor, the impressionable lad who de- 
clared he didn't want to come home and then changed his 
mind, each said this to me, the former in his Arlington resi- 
dence and the latter in the model guardhouse at historic Fort 
Sam Houston in San Antonio. 

My first acquaintance with brainwashing came from 
Chinese who had undergone it on the mainland. They were 
of all occupations, from merchant to teacher, and included 
some women. During this early period I saw white men 
coming out of China, across the plank railway bridge at the 
border of Hong Kong's leased territory, or through the medi- 
eval archway at the Portuguese colony of Macao. I remember 
one in particular because he seemed to symbolize them all. 
He walked across the boards feebly, his eyes staring ahead 
with frightful intensity. He looked centuries older than his 
middle age. He kept on walking until he was recognized and 
stopped by a fellow Catholic priest, assigned to the bridge for 
just such meetings. His Leninist uniform, adapted by Dr. 
Sun Yat-sen for the Chinese and slightly altered by the Reds, 
gave no hint of his religious calling. He stood and stared at 
his colleague and barely answered. He could not grasp the 
fact that he was out — out of reach of the brainwashers. He 
just stood and stared for several minutes. 

Then, suddenly, realization broke through to him. This 
was freedom. He was in the Free World. This was more than 
he could bear. He took a few steps to the side of the bridge 
and sat down! Then he burst into tears. He was a big man, 
no longer young, yet he wept like a little child. I do not know 

A New Word 7 

how long he cried this way, for I felt as if I were intruding 
on a man's Calvary. I turned away and left him to his co- 

None of these white people would speak to the press during 
that early period, and very few of the Chinese would, either. 
They were being blackmailed. This tactic used to enforce 
silence was not new, but still terrifying. The Reds threatened 
to severely punish and even kill the closest associates of any 
man who broke the hush-hush. Before leaving Red China, 
each person had to designate a hostage who would sign a 
guarantee for him. This enabled the communist authorities 
to avoid making direct threats. The hostages did so for them 
in the new, so-called voluntary method. "Please do not talk; 
my life is dependent on it," such persons would beg of their 
departing friend. They had been his associates, perhaps in 
church work or in business. The nightmare vision of such old 
colleagues being put to the rack and tortured unto death rose 
before a man's eyes and gagged his throat when he wanted 
to speak out. 

Every correspondent in Hong Kong came across living 
proof of Red pressures. A missionary would arrive at the 
border by rail, or a businessman on a ship from Tientsin. 
Usually they were in no shape to speak coherently even if 
they wanted to. They were sick in mind as much as in body. 
Horror spoke eloquently through their eyes, but the re- 
porters needed specific details to quote. The pro-communists 
who came out of China provided them; they did not hesitate 
to speak. They filled the gap left by the silence of the brow- 

When a reporter detected a desire in a man to let go with 
his true feelings and tell what he had seen and suffered, there 
usually was a representative of the home office or some official 
to intervene and say, "Let the man rest," or to take him 
aside and warn him not to say a word, to wait until a later 
date, "when you will be in better shape," and "after you have 
consulted your headquarters." The "later date" during that 
first year or so never came. The hush-hush dragged on. 

This was not the first time that the communists had been 

8 Brainwashing 

able to keep a deadly secret from the Free World as well as 
from the bulk of their own population. The existence of tre- 
mendous slave-labor camps in the Soviet Union was kept 
hidden for many years in this same manner. They were begun 
as far back as 1920, in the Solevetski islands in the White Sea, 
not far from Leningrad. A quarter of a century and World 
War II were to pass before these became fairly wide knowl- 
edge. Yet ten to twenty million persons at a time were in- 
carcerated in these forced-labor camps. Untold millions of 
men and women perished under bestial treatment and merci- 
less overwork. Inside the barbed-wire enclosures enormous 
industrial enterprises of every kind were set up, from textile 
production to mining. When vast labor gangs were required 
for back-breaking work on such enormous projects as the 
Volga-Don Canal network linking the Caspian and the Black 
seas, untold hundreds of thousands of slave laborers of both 
sexes were used like animals, regardless of beating sun, 
drenching rain, or deadly cold. 

The secret police, under whose direction all these enter- 
prises operated, had a simple method for finding technicians 
and filling managerial posts. All they had to do was to locate 
a man or woman with the necessary qualifications. They had 
no labor unions to worry about or problems of negotiation. 
Once they found their prospective employee, they could pick 
him up under any one of the numerous regulations that 
allowed them to arrest anyone, put him on trial, and sentence 
him to any work camp, without any publicity except what 
they might choose to write themselves. If the individual ob- 
jected, they could put the brainwashing screws on him and 
exact a confession. How many scientific laboratories working 
on war secrets have been staffed this way by slave labor — and 
slave professors — is yet to be known. 

Normal people in the Free World refused to believe that 
such barbarities could exist in our civilized day and age. 
Proof had slipped out years before to a small circle of politic- 
ally alert persons, but they were stymied whenever they tried 
to get the facts to the public. Every sort of diversionary and 
string-pulling tactic was brought into play to keep the opera- 

A New Word 9 

tion secret. What is scarcely appreciated even yet is that these 
vast slave establishments are a vital part of the brainwashing 
strategy. Communism requires them both as a softening-up 
medium against minds and as a source of production. 

The hush-hush methods that kept slave labor a secret were 
employed all over again for brainwashing. Actually, brain- 
washing was first put on display at the Red purge trials of 
1936, when the world was horrified by a procession of "Old 
Bolsheviks" in the dock in Moscow, announcing that they 
were traitors to the Bolshevism to which they had given their 
lives. They were the persons responsible for the Soviet seizure 
of power. Now they were denouncing themselves as anti- 

Other big show trials followed at short intervals, each pro- 
viding the world with still another baffling performance in 
self-accusation, with insistence on personal guilt and whining 
appeals for punishment unto death. These persons acted as if 
possessed. After the occupation of such countries as Hungary 
and their absorption into the communist orbit, such keen 
brains as Cardinal Mindszenty's broke under similarly obvi- 
ous but unproven circumstances. This gave the communists 
and the anti-anti-communists all around the world what ap 
peared to be incontrovertible evidence that what Moscow 
was claiming was correct. These men and women had con- 
fessed. What more could be asked? Until the strategy of 
brainwashing was brought out into the open, this question 
could be answered only in the Reds' favor. 

Communist Russia was able to keep brainwashing secret 
by its thorough control of information, which made an iso- 
lated island out of every man and office in the Soviet Union. 
No individual or bureau dared to communicate with any 
other except through the approved channels. When the 
Chinese mainland fell to the communists, brainwashing be- 
gan to be employed in a slipshod and roughhouse manner as 
a national policy against the whole population. Security was 
sacrificed in this reckless, unskilled use of it on a tremendous 
scale. The secret that Moscow had guarded so successfully 

10 Brainwashing 

at its front door in Europe slipped out through the back 
door in China. 

About a year or so after I first began hearing about brain- 
washing from the Chinese, I began to discuss it with white 
people who also had gone through the process in Red China. 
The futility and tragic consequences of secrecy had begun 
to dawn on the Free World. I had seen some brainwashed 
Americans briefly after they had left the mainland; then 
again, perhaps more than a year afterwards, at home in 
America. They were now capable of analyzing what had hap- 
pened to them. What struck me most was the similarity of 
all their experiences, not only to each other but to that of the 
Chinese whom I had previously interviewed. Later, I met 
people who had gone through brainwashing in the commu- 
nist satellite countries of Europe. Except for the change in 
locale, the details they told me corresponded exactly with 
what I had heard from these others. There was no doubt 
about the pattern, this was a uniform strategy, differing only 
in degree according to the personality and the local circum- 
stances. The strategy was the same everywhere. 

The Free World began to hear strange reports from the 
communist-operated prisoner-of-war camps in North Korea. 
Broadcasts were heard in voices recognized as those of normal 
young men of the American, British, and other U.N. forces. 
The voices belonged to these men, but the language did not. 
Pro-communist publications everywhere began to carry pur- 
ported confessions and grotesquely worded statements said 
to have been signed by these soldiers in support of whatever 
propaganda appeal international communism was making 
at the moment. The free press generally referred briefly to 
these matters, smelling a rat somewhere, but was confused 
by the problem of how to handle them. Each editor had to 
determine for himself, out of his own experience and con- 
science, whether this material was to be treated as straight 
news or enemy propaganda. Technically, there was no war. 
That they avoided falling into the Red propaganda trap to 
the extent they did was a great tribute to their overriding 
sense of national responsibility and a confirmation in a time 

A New Word ii 

of trial o£ the dependable qualities of a free press, even 
when faced by almost insuperable handicaps to the exercise 
of judgment. 

The tendency to suppress discussion of brainwashing and 
to keep it from public knowledge still had the upper hand. 
The word continued to be generally ignored, even boycotted. 
People still kept hoping it was merely a novel word for some- 
thing old and familiar. Indignation, lacking a target, fre- 
quently was vent against the purveyors of the information. 
In olden times, couriers who brought bad news were often 
done to death. 

This state of affairs, it was evident to me, was fast building 
up to a declaration by the communists that certain U.N. 
officers and troops captured by the Red Armies did not want 
to return home, but preferred to stay with the enemy. The 
dispatches I wrote warning about this were carried by two 
national news agencies. The editor of one confided in me 
later how client papers protested against his carrying the 
story, insisting that it simply couldn't happen, the old it-can't- 
happen-here delusion. A few months later, Peking went on 
the air to boast that a group of U.N. soldiers, mostly Ameri- 
can, had decided to remain inside the Red orbit and not go 
back to their respective lands. This, and the statements made 
by released p.o.w.'s themselves revealing how they had been 
brainwashed, tore the lid off the story and forced the facts 
out into the open. What they said was exactly the same, detail 
for detail, as what had been related to me first by the Chinese 
civilians, then by the white civilians put under brainwashing 
in China, and next by the Americans and Europeans who had 
suffered the same atrocities in Eastern Europe. 

The American public had reason enough now for alarm 
and shock. Never before had the citizens of a rich, ripe land 
such as the United States, beneficiaries of the highest stand- 
ard of living that the earth had ever seen, adopted to stay in 
an extremely backward, dreadfully impoverished country, 
supposedly out of preference for its way of life. People could 
sense that there was something very fishy about this, but 
nonetheless it was a shock to their pride. At the same time. 

12 Brainwashing 

it led the American people to a self-examination into the 
state of their own character and their moral defenses, which 
was the last thing in the world the enemy desired. The un- 
bridled denunciation of their own country, obviously manu- 
factured and parroted, by young Americans whom the Reds 
had carefully picked from widely separate parts of the United 
States, shook the public out of its cocksure lethargy and 
created a scare. The danger now was not only from under- 
estimating the effects of brainwashing, but of overestimating 

These young expatriates spoke and acted as if they were 
under a hypnotic spell. Colonel Donald B. Peterson, then 
chief of Army psychiatry in the Far East, told me in Tokyo 
that he wondered about the role hypnotism played in this 
process. In an interview, he declared that "the indoctrination 
technique in certain elements resembles some techniques 
used in hypnosis. One out of five persons is very susceptible 
to suggestion and hypnotizes readily, without regard to age, 
sex, race, or intelligence level." He also remarked how fre- 
quently returned p.o.w.'s told about their utter fatigue and 
falling asleep at times during prolonged interrogation. Of 
course they had no idea what, if anything, had transpired 
during those periods of sleep. The information I had been 
gathering convinced me that at least some form of mass 
hypnosis was part of the Red technique. 

In their own publications the communists referred to their 
methods as "scientific." The enlistment of science on the 
communist side had a terrifying connotation, and streng- 
thened the invincibility-inevitability line, on which they 
depended for much of their success. They say dialectical ma- 
terialism is "scientific." I got a different impression from in- 
terviewing scores of brainwashed individuals and many ex- 
communists who had occupied roles in the brainwashing 
program; from checking what was said, in "study books" for 
"learning classes," in documents, in diaries, and in their 
propaganda generally. As I pored over this enormous mass of 
material, I grew more certain that scientific was a misnomer, 
a propaganda term. The scientific form was used but not its 

A New Word 13 

content or spirit: there was only plenty of heavy argument, 
repeating and perpetually rephrasing the same original 
hypothesis for proof of its validity, and the generous use of 
selected statistics for irrelevant comparisons. 

There was not a trace of original thinking or clarity in any 
part of it; its main characteristic was its soporific effect. The 
communist approach was clinical, not scientific! What it 
brought to mind was the clever medicine man who equips 
himself with modern drugs and equipment for simple injec- 
tions to add to his ancient ritual. 

The case of Malcolm Bersohn was a tragic episode which 
helped awaken the public to the awful potentialities of brain- 
washing. Those who interviewed him were bewildered and 
horrified not only by what he said — Red ranting was nothing 
new — but by the unnatural way in which he said it. His 
speech seemed impressed on a disc that had to be played from 
start to finish, without modification or halt. He appeared to 
be under a weird, unnatural compulsion to go on with a 
whole train of thought, from beginning to end, even when it 
had been rendered silly. For example, he spoke of no force 
being applied to him even after someone already had pointed 
out that he had been seen in shackles. He was like a spider 
driven by its instincts to go on weaving its web. Bersohn 
appeared no longer capable of using free will or adapting 
himself to a situation for which he had been uninstructed; 
he had to go on as if manipulated by instincts alone. This 
was Party discipline extended to the mind; a trance element 
was in it. It gave me a creepy feeling. 

I had heard about Bersohn before his release from a fellow 
inmate of his in the Model Reform Prison at Peking — reform 
being Red semantics for brainwashing — and from associates 
of his at the former Rockefeller Institute hospital in Peking, 
the world-renowned Peking Union Medical College. Bersohn 
was described to me as an intense young man, a Harvard 
graduate, an extraordinary student with an abnormally high 
IQ, who had become fascinated with China after he was 
parachuted behind the Japanese lines during the war. He 
returned to China voluntarily after his demobilization and 

14 Brainwashing 

joined the P.U.M.C. for study and work in cancer research. 
Those who came in contact with him in the hospital said he 
seemed selfless, dedicated to helping the Chinese. He was 
unable to consider communist promises as only expendable 
means toward a political end. A hospital attendant was pres- 
ent when a small party of security police came into his work- 
room. As he was being led out, he was heard to protest, 
"Well, you're wrong. I haven't done anything against the 
people's government!" His was a very special case that only 
an institution with advanced facilities could handle. 

During his long imprisonment, which dragged on for 
nearly four years, his treatment varied from the extremely 
harsh to the flatteringly soft, including prolonged periods of 
confinement and shackling. The isolation must have been a 
maddening torture for a mind such as this, like the drop-of- 
water torture of the ancient dynasties. The irons, making a 
man lap up his sorry victuals like a dog, forcing him into 
crassly humiliating postures, must have been unbearable. He 
was a difficult patient much of the time, but his crack-up, 
when it came, was pathetically thorough and thoroughly 
pathetic. He ultimately became a prize patient and was thrust 
across the border at Hong Kong, along with a woman, Mrs. 
Adele Austin Rickett, as part of the diversion technique used 
by the Moscow-Peking Axis to counteract the extremely dam- 
aging effects of the publication at that time of an unprece- 
dented forty-one-page white paper by the Ministry of De- 
fence in London entitled, "Treatment of British Prisoners 
of War in Korea." This broke London's silence on the sub- 
ject with a bang. The Reds in Moscow at the same time 
placed the Italian-born atomic energy expert. Prof. Bruno 
Portecorvo, on exhibit before newspapermen at the Soviet 
Academy of Sciences. Portecorvo had disappeared from Brit- 
ain four years before, and London's characteristic insistence 
that it had no idea where he had gone, long after it was evi- 
dent he was in the Soviet Union, gave the Reds this oppor- 
tunity for propaganda exploitation. As the communists could 
not refute the devastating charges of atrocities and brain- 

A New Word 15 

washing made in the British booklet, they resorted to this 
customary diversion tactic. 

The Japanese I met who had returned from Siberian p.o.w. 
camps singing communist songs, shouting Red slogans, and 
raising the clenched fist salute had similar reactions. They 
had been captured by the Soviet Army when Moscow rushed 
into the war in Asia in its last few days in order to have a legal 
basis for political intervention and wholesale looting of the 
industrial plants in Manchuria. These returning Japanese 
fiercely snubbed their weeping, horrified loved ones who had 
come from far distances to welcome them home. I talked to 
some of them about a year later, when they had recovered 
from their frenzy. What all these persons told me was identi- 
cal, in essential details, to the experiences of all the others. 

The Korean War gave the communists what seemed to be 
a sure thing. They were suddenly provided with thousands 
of prisoners completely in their power. They put them under 
an intensive screening process, disguised as normal interro- 
gation, and chose the comparative few who revealed character 
defects or other weaknesses. These few could then be put 
under their hideous pressures of the mind. The miracle is 
that the Reds found so few to answer their purposes. They 
publicized what they got by every medium of communication 
available to them, and as nothing was known about the great 
majority who either saw through the Red strategy or resisted 
it successfully, the shock given the Free World was under- 
standably grave. Only later could this be put in correct 

On the other hand, I met many men who had stood up 
marvelously against exceedingly tough blows and who had 
survived honorably. They frequently seemed at a loss to 
explain how they had done it. Simple, down-to-earth truths 
had been their pillars of strength. The fundamental facts 
were the same, whether related by a civilian or soldier from 
China or Korea or someone from Ea,st Europe. 

For example, my research brought me into contact with 
some of the 14,000 Chinese in the United Nations' p.o.w. 
camps who steadfastly refused repatriation to Communist 

i6 Brainwashing 

China. These stalwart soldiers had succeeded in one of the 
strangest and most heroic struggles for freedom the world 
had ever witnessed. They had pitted themselves, with only 
their desperation to support them, against the most cunning 
and rigorous pressures that obdurate minds could devise to 
force them back into the embrace of communism. 

To be successful, brainwashing depended fundamentally 
on the subject's ignorance of it. When understood, the worst 
that the Red laboratories could produce could be thwarted 
by the character of the free man. When the techniques of 
communist brainwashing become common knowledge the 
system will be either shattered completely or made so difficult 
and costly to the Reds that the game will be hardly worth 
the candle. 

The patterns were irrefutable — for now there were two 
patterns, one for destruction of the mind and the other for 
its preservation. The former was sheer evil and decent people 
were revolted and frightened by the thought that such things 
could be in this mid-twentieth century. But the other, less 
sensational, pattern left me without any doubt as to what 
the outcome would be in this ultimate conflict for the minds 
of the people of the earth — that is, if the facts about brain- 
washing could be gotten to the people. 

Thanks to the communist blunder of waging a senseless 
aggressive war in Korea, the knowledge of brainwashing, its 
vulnerabilities as well as its strong points, can now be made 
known to all. 



Man and Dog 

The name Ivan Petrovich Pavlov meant almost nothing to 
me when I began to find out about brainwashing. Yes, I 
knew he had been an eminent Russian physiologist who had 
performed some interesting experiments with dogs. That was 
the sum of my knowledge. Dr. Leon Freedom, an eminent 
Baltimore neuropsychiatrist, whose personal interest had 
been deeply aroused by these new pressures of the mind and 
who was well acquainted with Pavlov's work, first drew my 
attention to the remarkable similarities between them. 

Then I remembered seeing the name Pavlov in sections 
given over to political literature in the main communist 
bookshops. What had Pavlov to do with politics? I began to 
read up on him. My main sources were his own lectures, 
through which I could plod only very slowly, and lectures 
about him, which were obscured by a mixture of clinical 
terminology and Red political verbiage clear only to the 

I came across a paper-bound book published in Moscow 
consisting entirely of verbatim reports on the combined ses- 
sions of the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical 
Sciences of the U.S.S.R. in 1950, when the only subject was 
Pavlov! The hundredth anniversary of his birth, the previous 
September, had been made the occasion for very special ob- 
servances throughout the Soviet Union, everywhere from 
collective farms to scientific institutions. On the face of it, 
this extraordinary attention given to Pavlov about the time 
of the Korean War, with its unprecedented treatment of pris- 


i8 Brainwashing 

oners of war by the Reds, was solely a coincidence. The anni- 
versary explained it all. But did it? Was the anniversary only 
a convenient medium? The more I delved into it, the more 
connection I found between the p.o.w. camps and Pavlov's 

The academies' reports repeatedly insisted that Pavlov had 
intended his "strictly objective method of investigation" to 
be applied to man as well as to beast. This included man's 
"speech activity," too, I read, and the functions of the "first 
signal system" and the "second signal system." Did this have 
anything to do with slogans? I found there was a direct rela- 
tionship here, too. Any doubt I might have had was dispelled 
by the seemingly innocuous observation made regarding Pav- 
lov's experiments, that "there is a growing appreciation of 
their value to the philosophy of dialectical materialism." The 
doctor's clinic here became the politician's study! 

Yet there was a vagueness about all this; the facts seemed 
to slip away whenever I was about to get my hands on them, 
like the Cheshire cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

In this state of mind, I happened one evening to visit the 
home of Frank Wright, who is an important cog in the New 
York office of the Committee for a Free Europe. His wife was 
away in the country and he invited me to taste his own robust 
cuisine — steak and salad. Our conversation veered over to 
brainwashing and its origins. We talked of the decisive role 
that confession techniques played in it. The name of Pavlov 
came up and at once Frank became very agitated. "I saw a 
movie on his experiments while I was in college which 
made such a vivid impression on me that I still have a pe- 
culiar feeling when I think of them," he exclaimed. He shud- 
dered as he spoke. "Maybe that's why Fm working where I 
am today," he added thoughtfully. 

I had heard of a full-length popular feature film about 
Pavlov's life. "I suppose that's what you mean," I said. 

"No," he replied. "What I saw was a short film lasting 
about half an hour. It was intended for training purposes in 
the U.S.S.R. Its field was medical research, yet there was 
much more to it than that. I took a medical course myself,. 

Ivan P. Pavlov 19 

but didn't finish it, and my uncle was a doctor. Perhaps that 
helps to explain why it affected me so deeply. There was one 
horrifying scene with a young man. I saw it by chance in 1928, 
and went back three more times. The picture first fascinated, 
then revolted me, and finally made me angry." 

This, of course, sent me on a search for that film. At first 
I thought I would never locate it. Then I found what seemed 
to fit the description and arranged for a special screening. 

When I went to see the film, I took along some friends so 
we could discuss it afterwards. One was Ayn Rand, who was 
extremely pleased when I told her I considered her powerful 
novel Fountainhead a political book. "Of course it is; that's 
why I wrote it," she replied. She is a passionate exponent of 
clear-cut thinking and uncompromising convictions, and her 
book was one of the first to expose the machinations of the 
communist network. She came with her husband, Frank 
O'Connor. The subject of the film intensely interested her 
because she had written, before Orwell's 1984^ a little book 
Anthem, in which totalitarian society makes the thought or 
use of the pronoun / the most grievous of all heresies and 
crimes. She had detected the evil in what she had been taught 
as a little girl in her native Soviet Russia and had managed 
to get out of that country. 

On the basis of what Frank Wright had told me, I also 
persuaded Dr. Freedom and his wife to make a special trip 
from Baltimore to see the picture. The film had the unattrac- 
tive title The Nervous System, but most of it was an exciting 
and beautiful display of nature, with turtles and bees, tigers 
and monkeys, snakes and birds doing the acting. 

Every amusing episode had a bit of "learning" to go along 
with it. "One form of behavior is the instinct," a caption 
read, and another declared, "Instinct is inborn." Baby ducks 
tottered awkwardly into a lake for their first swim. A fox 
feigned sleep while crows pecked at the grass near by. A few 
recklessly came up close and one even stepped on the fox 
which, in a twinkling, snapped it up. 

"Instinct is blind," said another caption. We all laughed 
at the bird which was desperately trying to hatch wooden 

20 Brainwashing 

eggs, even a square one! A pathetic little hen tried to sit on 
a big ostrich egg. The hunger, protective, maternal, and re- 
productive instincts were all shown in this fascinating way. 

In more formal scenes, a Russian trainer put a dog through 
familiar tricks, making it lie down and roll over. We saw a 
white rat in a maze trying to clamber over a corridor wall, 
not knowing how to get out. We saw it after training, going 
the shortest way through the labyrinth to the exit, where a 
biscuit awaited it as a reward. "Individual training makes 
behavior more complex," the caption explained. Thus, 
gently, the film proceeded toward its main point. 

A lion, advertising a "learning meeting," stalked about 
carrying a sign that read, "Joy through Study." We now 
were in the classroom, where the students were monkeys, and 
a particularly pompous monkey was the teacher. It was very 
amusing to watch the serious way a monkey turned the pages 
of a book as if he were reading. Any ordinary person who saw 
anything sinister about such good-natured fun would have 
felt ashamed of himself. 

But obviously this was no simple study picture for mere 
entertainment. In another scene lions were whipped, and the 
caption read, "Pain method of training." One lion straddled 
its trainer, the yawning chasm of its jaw nearly covering the 
man's face. Instead of swallowing his head in one bite, the 
lion licked his nose with its tongue. Lions and trainer fol- 
lowed this up with a dance, all in one happy circle. 

Even yet, it seemed far-fetched to seek any connection 
between this film and a purge trial. A lion lay down and 
rolled onto its side. Its trainer sat on it while two other lions 
came up and they all posed together in harmony. What could 
be more innocent than a lion trainer posing with his beasts? 
The wrestling match with a huge Arctic bear was much more 

The central theme was indicated by a scene showing a dog 
in harness, standing on what looked like an operating table, 
in a room full of mechanical gadgets and curious meters. 
What immediately attracted attention was the glass container 
inserted into the side of the dog's lower jaw. This was sup- 

Ivan P. Pavlov 21 

posed to have been painless; it did not seem to annoy the dog. 
Unsmiling doctors busied themselves with the experiment. 
One held the bulbous end of a rubber tube. By squeezing it, 
air pressure moved a circular tray bringing a bowl of food 
within reach of the harnessed canine. As soon as this hap- 
pened, a light flashed. The dog hungrily eyed the approach- 
ing food, and its saliva began to drip into the test tube 
attached to its jaw. Each drop was counted and carefully 
tabulated on a graph. 

The dog at first paid no attention to the light. Sometimes 
the rotary table brought an empty bowl to the dog's mouth, 
but whenever that happened, the light did not go on and no 
saliva flowed. A routine was now established. When the light 
flashed, food appeared and saliva appeared. When an empty 
bowl approached, the light did not go on and there was no 

After a while, the dog hardly glanced at the bowl. It had 
identified the light with the food. The light was sufficient 
sign; it had "learned." The crucial point in the experiment 
was now reached. A white-gowned doctor pressed a push 
button, the light flashed, but this time the round table did 
not bring the dog any food. Its saliva dripped just the same. 
The light had replaced the food in the mind of the dog, the 
way a slogan or label can replace a thought in a man's mind. 
The caption merely read, "Reflex caused by flashing light." 

The portion of the film showing this experiment was illus- 
trated by a pen-and-ink cross section of the dog's head. Rows 
of little gears, a significant touch, connected its eyes and 
mouth with its brain, and traced the path of the messages 
that came to it from the outside. Another row of gears traced 
the path taken by the brain's reactions — its reflex — by which 
it sent an order to the salivary glands in the jaw that food 
was on the way and to prepare to receive it by secreting saliva. 
Finally, when only the light flashed, without food, the gears 
went into motion anyway, and the same message was sent 
by the brain to the salivary glands. An attitude had been 
created! A caption explained this as "the pathway of the arc 
of the conditioned reflex." 

22 Brainwashing 

Conditioned, in Pavlov's experiments, meant "induced by 
man, or by outside influences." By unconditioned, he meant 
"natural," or "instinctive," such as the eye's involuntary 
blinking when an insect flies close to it. Conditioned-reflex 
action can be brought about deliberately, and this is what the 
communist hierarchy now relies upon to make a basic change 
in human nature, to give birth to the "new Soviet man" in 
whom the conception of the individual / is to be replaced 
by the we of collectivity. In short, what the totalitarian state 
strives toward is no less than the insectivization of human 

One scene showed a puppy that had not yet tasted meat. 
When red meat was put in front of its nose for the first time, 
it showed no interest and no saliva flowed. It had to learn 
that it was food and only then did its glands go into action. 

Another scene showed a baby. The caption that went with 
it was severely unemotional and read bluntly, "The new- 
born has no conditioned reflexes." We saw how it had to be 
taught to feed. The food reflex was illustrated by its learn- 
ing to drink out of a bottle. Its grabbing instinct was illus- 
trated by the extraordinary vigor with which it grasped its 
mother's finger in its tiny fist. 

Man not only has instincts, but also possesses reason con- 
ditioned by his social environment, the film pointed out. But 
the similarity between the baby and puppy scenes was 
startling and at the same time confusing. Were instinct and 
reason really so close, or only superficially so? 

Except for the extreme seriousness with which the Russian 
physiologists and doctors went about their experiments, the 
film did not appear to demonstrate anything not already 
known to any dog fancier. The Soviet Government surely 
would not have engaged in such intricate and costly rig- 
marole if only to confirm something that anyone with com- 
mon sense knew. 

What we saw didn't nearly match Frank's description. His 
description was much more incriminating. He recognized it 
as the same film, but said there had been more to it. This 
aroused my suspicion that there had been cuts made. 

Ivan P. Pavlov 23 

There must have been more to it, and I made a persistent 
effort to trace the complete film. Months later, I succeeded. 
The crucial, telltale part was in it! As soon as it came on, I 
experienced a twinge of horror. The twinge was involuntary, 
what Pavlov would have called an unconditioned reflex. 

I arranged to see the completed film myself. What we had 
seen before, everyone has seen in real life or circuses through- 
out the world — but not the telltale scene. When this was 
included in its original context, all the previous scenes then 
began to uncover, startlingly enough, the message that the 
communists wished to convey to their hospital interns and 
to their police practitioners, particularly in the MVD train- 
ing schools. 

The incriminating scene began with a young man sitting 
in a chair, attached to it like the dog in a harness. The 
switches and push buttons were to operate a combination of 
gadgets identical to those used for the dog. 

A rubber suction tube was stuck into the boy's mouth to 
measure his saliva. Pills were given him to chew to induce 
its flow into a glass receptacle. A small cake was waved in 
front of his eyes, stuck under his nose, and thrust into his 
mouth. All this was done with grim seriousness. At the same 
time the light flashed on and off as it had with the animal. 

The next scene showed the lad stretched out on a hospital 
cot like a patient awaiting an appendectomy, except that he 
was fully dressed. The rubber tube was still inserted into his 
mouth, its other end projecting into the thin glass receptacle. 

A fat cone, with its narrow end open and pointing down- 
wards, was attached to a hinged arm above his head. It was 
swung over until it hung directly over the boy's face. A push 
button was pressed by one of the doctors and a few small 
biscuits were released from the cone into the young man's 
open mouth. Some of these he caught and chewed, others fell 
down the side of his face. The light flashed each time the 
biscuits were dropped. 

The scene shifted again, and the light flashed without any 
biscuits falling from the cone. The boy's saliva flowed just 
the same. He was reacting exactly as the dog. 

24 Brainwashing 

This was the part that made the film of such vital im- 
portance to the training laboratories operated by the Soviet 
secret police. Conditioned reflexes could conceivably be pro- 
duced to make this youth react like the dog that rolled over 
at its trainer's signal. Only instead of a light, the Kremlin 
could use words as signals — any words would do — imperial- 
ism, learning, running dog of the imperialists, people, friend 
of the people, big brother, without any relationship to their 
actual meaning. The Kremlin's plan was to make these re- 
flexes instinctive, like the reactions of the animals — and boy 
— shown in the movie. When we appreciate that this film was 
produced in 1928, the long-range planning of the communist 
hierarchy becomes frighteningly evident. 

An ordinary person in the Thirties who insisted that the 
reason the Kremlin produced this film was to teach the use 
of such practices on mankind would have been accused of 
being ridiculously obsessed by communism. But we now 
know well enough that the Kremlin actually was making 
just such plans for the future. 

The purge trials burst into headlines in 1936. The brain- 
washing strategy by then had been developed by constant 
clinical experimentation. The world probably will never 
know how many unfortunates in the U.S.S.R. were guinea 
pigs in the dungeon laboratories of such prisons as the Lubi- 
anka in Moscow before the technique was sufficiently ad- 
vanced for Stalin to make a public display of its victims. 

The scene with the boy was in the middle of the film. The 
first reel had given the impression that it was a simple lesson 
in naturalism, and put the audience in a good mood for the 
second reel, which was the shocker. The last reel relieved 
the tension with amusing episodes, but all that really mat- 
tered was the dog-man sequence. 

Nobody who has ever seen that sequence can possibly for- 
get it, nor can any normal person fail to be revolted by this 
entire process of mind attack. Without the sequence, the film 
was easily disguised as a nonpolitical study of animal be- 
havior. It was not intended for general circulation even in 

Ivan P. Pavlov 25 

the Soviet Union, but only for those already hardened by 
communist "learning." 

One caption explained that the experiments were made 
on "the isolated animal." In the p.o.w. camps in Korea, in the 
early 1950's, it was "the isolated man" who received the brunt 
of the pressure. The scene with the harnessed boy could have 
warned the Free World that these experiments really had 
human beings in view. 

Another caption betrayed the communist determination to 
go all out in the use of this strategy once it had been suffi- 
ciently developed. "A conditioned reflex can be worked out 
to every stimulus," it read. Such calm laboratory language 
didn't sound as if it could possibly have any application to 
everyday living. What it meant to the indoctrinated was plain 
enough. Any human activity, from the flow of saliva to an 
embrace or a murder, could be clinically predetermined in 
politico-medical laboratories by connecting it with a shouted 
or written slogan, a hand signal, a smear word, or the color 
of a man's skin. Anything could be made into a trigger, or 
what the Pavlovian doctors called a stimulus. This was what 
the caption meant. What they had learned from animals 
could be used to intrude into the mind and soul of man, to 
warp and change his brain. Brain-changing was the culmina- 
tion of this whole evil process, when actual damage was done 
to a man's mind through drugs, hypnotism, or other means, so 
that a memory of what had actually happened would be 
wiped out of his mind and a new memory of what never 
happened inserted. 

Just as Hitler had done, Stalin was proclaiming openly his 
basic principles and ultimate objectives. He was making no 
secret of his intent. By shouting it from the housetops, he 
made it easy for his followers to carry out his instructions, 
while he could rest confident that others would not see 
through his machinations. The few who managed to do so, he 
was sure, would be neutralized and hushed up by the ridicule 
and attack to which they would be subjected by collaborators 
and dupes. 

^6 Brainwashing 

The Popular Version 

At my first opportunity after viewing the missing scene 
from the Pavlov training film, I went back to Dr. Freedom 
to discuss it with him and to hear his clinical analysis. We 
had settled upon a routine long before. After I completed 
an interview or a piece of research, I would visit him and we 
would go into every phase of it. He would make his clinical 
analysis, and his amazing wife, Virginia, whose hobby was 
geopolitics, would help to simplify what he said in everyday 
language. We talked for hundreds of hours, upstairs in their 
home, above his clinic. I introduced him to several of the 
refugees from brainwashing and former p.o.w.'s, and he 
studied their cases individually. 

After relating my reactions to the complete film, my first 
question was, "Do you really think that the part with the 
boy in harness could really have happened that way?" 

"Of course," he promptly replied. 

"Do you mean to say that if you turn on a green light each 
time you feed candy to a kid, one day you can just switch 
on the light, without giving him any sweet, and his mouth 
will drool just the same?" 

"Certainly," Dr. Freedom answered. "With grownups, 

"What if the person doesn't want to react that way?" 

"He can't help it! Nothing he can do can stop his salivary 
glands from working." 

The political inference sounded horrifying. "Does this 
mean that when everything is said and done, a man is no 
more than a dog?" 

"Of course not," he replied. "That is the point at which 
communism is bound to fail. I know this is true as a surgeon 
and as a psychiatrist." 

He explained how an animal could possess, in greater or 
lesser degree, the same senses and feelings as a man, up to a 
certain point. Beyond that, the man had something in addi- 
tion that made him Man. This was his reasoning faculty — 

Ivan P. Pavlov 27 

his reasoned judgment and reasoned free will. This was what 
was meant by the divine in man, that differentiated him from 
all else that lived. So long as reason could be kept healthy 
and free, man's future was safe. 

"There's one more question I want to ask you," I said. 
"Did the scene with the boy mean that some unscrupulous 
power group might succeed someday in inducing a whole 
population to react to its wishes in the same unquestioning 
way a dog can be trained to obey its master?" 

Dr. Freedom did not reply as promptly as before. Much 
more grimly, he explained that insofar as a human being 
allowed the divine traits in him to be overcome and his 
reasoning power — his judgment and free will — to be atro- 
phied, he could be made into a demon, a puppet, a sick man 
psychologically, just as sick as an athlete who has allowed his 
body to be run down by dissipation until he easily contracts 
some crippling disease. 

Moscow produced several full-length feature films about 
the Pavlovian experiments for popular consumption. In 
these, the harrowing scenes of the original laboratory film 
were made palatable in the Hollywood manner. During my 
travels, I was fortunate to be able to see them. They proved 
how thoroughly the Kremlin was going about its task of 
creating the "new Soviet man." Whereas the short film was 
intended for training purposes, the full-length pictures were 
part of the softening-up program for the public. These 
movies confirmed the callousness with which Moscow was 
absorbing medical science into its control-expansion strategy. 

At the same time, Moscow produced a series of films about 
foremost figures in Russian history. Together, these outlined 
the Red pattern for world conquest. 

Peter the Great was the first of these historical pictures. 
When first shown abroad, it was acclaimed as fine theater 
and exciting biography. Critics exhaustively discussed it as 
entertainment. Actually, it revealed a new and favorable 
interpretation of the brutal careers of Russia's early rulers. 
Previously, no denunciation had seemed strong enough. Now, 
they were suddenly glamorized as great leaders. The com- 

28 Brainwashing 

plete subordination of all media of communication to policy 
under communism would have made this basic change in 
line unmistakable to any who had analyzed it from the Krem- 
lin's standpoint. Unfortunately, this was done only by a 
heroic few whose voices were smothered by the communist 
propaganda machine. 

The full-length movies about Pavlov and his conditioned- 
reflex experiments were merely popularized versions of the 
brief film, with new symbols chosen in accordance with the 
different types of audiences to be influenced at home and 
abroad. One film was a highly dramatic biography in which 
Pavlov's theories were presented as a scientific basis for the 
acceptance of brainwashing as a natural stage in man's evo- 
lution. Instead of merely glamorizing incidents in his life 
story, the Soviet rewrote history for political reasons. 

In the beginning of the film, young Pavlov, who had only 
recently become a doctor, felt a wealthy patient's pulse and 
bluntly informed him that he was going to die. Infuriated, 
the landowner — he had to be a landlord to provide the film 
with the approved stereotype villain — ^jumped out of bed 
in a manner strangely virile for a man supposed to have one 
foot in the grave. He dashed to his big French window. Star- 
ing avidly at his property, he swore that what he couldn't 
take with him, he would destroy. He ordered all the beauti- 
ful trees on his estate to be chopped down. His serfs rushed 
forth with axes to fulfill this last mad wish. Giant trees came 
crashing down. Pavlov, at this point, vowed that the heritage 
he would leave behind when he died would be knowledge 
and achievement. This incident was written into the story 
to indoctrinate the audience with contempt for property and, 
indirectly, with scorn for a decent wage scale. 

Pavlov's earliest interest was in the digestive processes. He 
once noticed that his dog began drooling although there was 
no food about. When he investigated, he found that the ser- 
vant who usually fed the dog had just passed on the other 
side of the corridor. The footsteps of this man had the same 
effect on the dog as the food itself. This, according to the 
film, was the great inspiration of Pavlov's life. Intrigued by 

Ivan P. Pavlov 29 

the effect that a sound could have on a dog's salivary glands, 
he changed his specialty from digestion to reflexes. 

Here his difficulties began. Old friends and colleagues 
warned and even threatened him against it. They complained 
that his stubbornness was making a laughing stock of them 
in scientific circles. Even his faithful old servant quit him 
in a tear-jerker of a scene. Pavlov paid no heed, but pushed 
forward purposefully on his chosen path. The film portrayed 
him as a ruthless dialectical Marxist, which he never was. 
Indeed, if Pavlov knew his simple findings were to become 
the modem basis of brainwashing, he would have recoiled in 

His finances dwindled away. He couldn't afford to pay for 
the dogs he needed in his experiments. Obstacles faced him 
wherever he turned. At the opportune moment, a girl pre- 
sented herself. She was also a dedicated scientist and worker. 
She sought no affection, no recompense except to work more 
and more, without any thought of pay. She worked eagerly 
fifteen hours a day. 

Pavlov accepted her sacrifices as natural. The only warmth 
that the film showed in him was once when he grabbed his 
wife and danced about with her in great glee over a successful 
four-hour operation on a dog. He told her about a litter of 
beautiful pups he had seen on the way home. He wanted so 
much to buy them. His wife promptly returned the pay 
check he had just brought home so he could buy the pups, 
not to keep as pets, but to put on the operating table for his 

Pavlov's wife was presented as a weak and trusting female, 
symbolizing the masses, in contrast to him, the dialectical 
master, whose will she never questioned and whose reasoning 
she could not understand. 

The Red script writers made Pavlov a sort of master magi- 
cian with occultlike powers over men's minds, the Merlin of 
dialectical materialism. According to the film, he set himself 
a goal. "The task of physiology is to learn to direct the human 
brain," he was supposed to have said. His objective was just 
the opposite. He conceived of physiology as mankind's ser- 

30 Brainwashing 

vant, not its master. Nothing he ever said indicated that he 
entertained any such hideous concept as mind control. His 
purpose, as he always insisted, was to make use of animals to 
discover basic laws in physiology which would help medical 
science heal the afflictions of the human body and work to- 
ward the avoidance of mental disorders. The Kremlin ex- 
posed its own objective by this distortion of his actual 

The film quoted him as saying that, unable to experiment 
on people, he would begin with dogs. This alone should have 
warned the world of Moscow's goal. 

Another caption had Pavlov saying, "The brain created 
science and now will be subordinate to it." In a brazen ad- 
mission of communist intent, the film declared that a person's 
individuality, his I, was derived out of his environment. The 
inference was drawn that by altering a man's surroundings,, 
his inner nature could be changed as well. 

"We are seeking new ways of dealing with the brain," Pav- 
lov was made to declare. "We already know the basic laws 
of the brain," he was further quoted, following it with the 
ominous statement that these laws had "nothing to do with 
human nature." 

A scene laid in London was a dead giveaway of the Soviet 
goal. Pavlov went there to attend an ultra-swank session of 
England's highest scientific society, at which he was to be 
presented with its most important award. His speech was the 
high light of the ceremony. In it he presented on the stage 
an actual experiment on a dog, the same as in The Nervous 

To have followed this up in a popular movie with the ex- 
periment on a human being would have been far too revolt- 
ing. The Reds thought up a conspiracy. Three sinister figures 
staged a demonstration against Pavlov, to accomplish the 
same end. The three plotters, symbolizing obstructionist and 
non-communist elements, replaced the young man in The 
Nervous System. 

Soon after Pavlov took the rostrum, catcalls and hooting 
started. The conspiracy against him might just as well have 

Ivan P. Pavlov 31 

been against the state. The pattern was the same. But the 
state, or rather Pavlov, was supposed to see all. He strode to 
the front of the stage and pointed to the three "counter-revo- 
lutionaries," as they would have been labeled in the commu- 
nist language. They had been edging forward without being 
noticed by the rest of the audience of scientists and socialites. 
Pavlov interrupted his analysis of the dog's brain to explain 
what was going on in the minds of this trio. He diagnosed 
their crime. They were about to create disorder in response 
to a conditioned stimulus. The camera showed the three men 
standing transfixed in their tracks while Pavlov informed the 
audience that they were halted in their plotting by the law 
of inhibition. 

He had already shown how inhibition worked on the dog. 
Its saliva stopped when he created a counter-stimulus. As 
soon as this inhibitory process ceased, Pavlov continued, the 
three would recommence their plotting, in the way the dog's 
saliva resumed flowing. So they did. The three "enemies of 
the state" recovered from their temporary immobilization, 
and a scene of utter disorder and hate erupted inside the 
dignified old chamber. This was finally overcome by Pavlov's 
convincing demonstration and by the timely support of a 
youth group in the audience, which constituted a victory for 
what the caption said was the "materialistic understanding" 
of the brain. 

All that was lacking to make the picture truthfully realistic 
was a scene showing the three diversionists being taken from 
their homes late that night by the police authorities, and 
another showing them some time afterwards, contrite and 
confessing. That is how it would really have happened in the 

These films about Pavlov and his experiments exposed the 
hideous strategy of mind attack that the Kremlin was build- 
ing up. If these movies had been taken seriously and properly 
interpreted when they first came out, along with the Peter 
the Great series, the world might have been spared many 

32 Brainwashing 

The Secret Manuscript 

Pavlov was already sixty-eight years old in November, 1917, 
When the Bolsheviks seized power from the Kerensky govern- 
ment. The Czar and his family were slain on July 16, only 
four months after his abdication. Pavlov had already com- 
pleted the experiments for which history would remember 
him. He received a Nobel prize way back in 1904 for his 
unique experiments which clearly demonstrated the func- 
tioning of the digestive mechanism. The twentieth century 
had been only two years old when he began his research into 
the workings of the animal brain. His findings on condi- 
tioned reflexes and inhibitions had been made before World 
War I. 

He was now an old man who had endured much depriva- 
tion because of his persistence in keeping to his chosen work 
instead of earning the high income his pre-eminent standing 
as a physician would have assured. The maintenance of his 
kennels and the normal overhead of his laboratory kept him 

He lived in an isolated village called Koltushy, twenty 
miles north of Leningrad, in a plain wooden building where 
he performed his involved research on living animals. This 
had been one of his pioneering contributions, experimenta- 
tion under conditions as nearly normal as possible, instead of 
on dead animals. It greatly complicated matters and multi- 
plied costs, but it gave immensely better results. Fortunately, 
he had inherited an iron constitution to go along with his 
iron will, and his mental vigor seemed to belie the weari- 
ness that was creeping over his once active body. 

Pavlov's entire life had been identified with Mother Rus- 
sia, and he loved her soil deeply. His father, a poor priest 
in the peasant town of Ryazan in central Russia, had to raise 
his own food the same as neighboring farmers. Ivan inherited 
a kinship with the good earth, and felt content and happy 
when he could dirty his hands tending it. He had suffered 
much on Russian soil, but he was born of it. He was a stub- 

Ivan P. Pavlov 33 

born man who well knew the impracticability of starting 
over when the Biblical threescore years and ten were already 
his, or very nearly so. He made up his mind that he would 
stick it out whatever the communists did. 

Old friends strongly urged him to leave while there was 
yet time. He did not need their urging to know how danger- 
ous and chaotic conditions had become, or how many per« 
sons around him were escaping while they still had a chance. 
These were not only the rich, who could go in comfort, but 
ordinary intellectuals and the middle class. This was the 
period of the great White Russian exodus. The pathetic 
efforts of the idealistic provisional government to accomplish 
its ends strictly within a democratic framework were being 
exploited on all sides. 

Plodding patiently ahead, the new republic gave promise 
of settling down. If abnormal pressures had not been put on 
it from abroad, it might have succeeded. But that was the 
moment chosen by the German military planners to sneak 
a coterie of political extremists called Bolsheviks through 
Germany in a sealed train from Switzerland, directly into 
Russia. This was the real beginning of twentieth-century 
psychological warfare. It changed the whole direction of con- 
temporary history. The long-overdue Russian revolution was 
kidnaped by the unprincipled machinations of the new arri- 
vals and twisted into the extremism of world communism. 
The German people were ultimately to pay heavily for this 
maneuver of their diplomats and warlords. This last desper- 
ate measure of the Junkers, heartlessly undermining the sort 
of regime for which the Russian masses had yearned so long, 
brought the pillars of civilization toppling down on friends 
and foes alike. 

A Ukrainian named Michael Korostevetz, whose estate was 
not far from the Pavlovs', was among the last to join the trek 
abroad. Before escaping with his kinfolk and whatever they 
could carry, Korostevetz made several visits to the home of 
the physiologist. A close friendship had existed between the 
two families. Years later, in London, Korostevetz revealed 
what had transpired at those conversations. 

34 Brainwashing 

Korostevetz strongly recommended that Pavlov escape, 
pointing out how hopeless conditions were becoming and 
warning him that the time when people could still get away 
was growing very short. Pavlov's only reply was that he could 
not bring himself to leave. His whole life's work was rooted 
in Russia. He loved his country too much to bear the thought 
of living anywhere else. Furthermore, he saw no reason why 
any government would want to interfere with his purely 
scientific research. He could not imagine any regime — ^red, 
pink, green, or white — suspecting that there was the least 
political connotation in his undertakings. Nothing could be 
further from politics than his experiments with animals. No, 
he told Korostevetz firmly, he would remain. 

His friend went to England, where he settled down and 
became a part of that cosmopolitan society. Pavlov struggled 
on at home against deprivation and sorrow — he had lost two 
sons. After the elapse of only a few years, his name began to 
be mentioned flatteringly in dispatches from the Soviet 
Union. Yet he was no communist. He had made that very 
clear. Nevertheless, he was coming more and more into favor. 
The Soviet Government gave his experiments extraordinary 
support. The Reds built new laboratories for him on a scale 
he had never dreamed of and provided him with all the ani- 
mals for his experiments, as well as with whatever scientific 
and clerical staff he required. The Kremlin made this a pri- 
ority matter at a time of great shortages everywhere, when 
the state was not sparing a ruble for anything it did not con- 
sider absolutely vital to its own survival. 

A dacha, or summer villa, was built for Pavlov, and as 
the years passed, the equivalent of a college town was con- 
structed at Koltushy. Doctor W. Horsley Gantt, director of 
the Pavlovian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in 
Baltimore, went to Leningrad with the Hoover famine relief 
commission in the early 1920s, made Pavlov's acquaintance, 
and became one of his collaborators for nearly five years, 
from 1925 to 1929. Dr. Gantt translated a collection of Pav- 
lov's lectures into English. In the "Introduction," he refers 
to his great astonishment when he revisited Koltushy in 1933 

Ivan P. Pavlov 35 

and found that "a new city of laboratory buildings had arisen, 
dominating the village and hiding the forest." 

Pavlov's frequently expressed dislike for communist ide- 
ology was obviously being brushed aside, ignored as if never 
uttered. Pavlov maintained what Dr. Gantt described as an 
"attitude of bold animosity" towards the Soviet Union until 
about 1930. The Kremlin turned its head in a peculiar exhi- 
bition of what appeared to be amazing tolerance. What would 
have brought the heaviest penalties of the state on anyone 
else was allowed in his case. Indeed, high honor and great 
flattery were bestowed on the aging man. He was permitted 
to make brief journeys abroad for lectures that became tri- 
umphal tours. He went to the United States in 1923, France 
in 1926, and London in 1928. He would have been less than 
human not to identify the acclaim that was his with the 
Soviet regime that made it possible. 

Moscow had no worry about Pavlov not returning. All that 
had meaning in life for him, his family, his work, his labora- 
tories, were at Koltushy under government protection — and 
surveillance. Purge trials and brainwashing were still in the 
future. A certain tolerance for dissenting views within the 
party framework still existed. S .M. Kirov, Politbureau mem- 
ber and Stalin's close collaborator, had not yet been assas- 
sinated. The summary execution of so-called suspects and the 
killing of thousands for sheer terroristic reasons were still 
a decade away. 

Pavlov lived until February 27, 1936. By a strange quirk, 
this was the very year of the first spectacular trials of Old 
Bolsheviks in Moscow which mystified the entire world but 
which Pavlov certainly would have seen through. The colos- 
sal purge and the sensational treason trials that followed 
Kirov's assassination on December 1, 1934, must have deeply 
worried him but without seeming to be related in any par- 
ticular way to his own specialty, for the Kremlin's reaction 
was principally the traditional use of terror in the old-fash- 
ioned manner. This charged environment could not have 
been without any effect on him, since it virtually monopo- 
lized the press and discussion. 

36 Brainwashing 

The old man probably died before he even suspected the 
double game that the Kremlin was playing on him. After all, 
Pavlov lived in splendid isolation among his family, co-work- 
ers, and dogs. The only contacts he had were discreetly but 
thoroughly screened by the authorities. He was living in the 
same controlled environment which he had devised for his 
experimental animals. Comprehension of the bestial use that 
the Kremlin was making of his life's work inevitably would 
have led him to denounce the horrible perversion of what 
he had achieved, and he would have done so in his usual 
unmistakable language. 

Pavlov would have been repelled in the same manner as 
another great old man I saw at a communist mass meeting in 
Paris in the early 1930s. He was the famous French writer 
Andre Gide, who was featured as the principal speaker at a 
tremendous Red rally. The enormous auditorium was packed 
with people attracted by his name. The audience fidgeted 
through the speeches of one French communist agitator after 
another, from 6 p.m. until just before midnight, when Gide 
was led to the rostrum like a prize exhibit. I sat in one of the 
front rows so I could catch every detail, and noticed how 
pathetically leaden Gide's eyes were, although he was only 
in his early sixties. He raised his right arm weakly in the 
communist clenched fist salute, and uttered a few spiritless 
words of comradely greeting which, from his once eloquent 
mouth, sounded wholly out of place. His appearance, for 
which we had waited the whole evening, lasted a couple of 
minutes and then he was led off the stage. The callous ex- 
ploitation of this once great mind was nauseating. 

Gide himself, to his everlasting credit, broke through this 
false facade when he was taken on a tour of Soviet Russia 
long afterwards. He found that he could not even express 
appreciation for his trip in a telegram to Stalin without using 
a forced adulatory salutation which smacked of religious 
quackery. This experience aroused Gide's old critical facul- 
ties, and he began to look about him with awakened eyes. 
Horrified, he possessed the strength of will to oppose what 
he now realized he had been deceived into praising. In order 

Ivan P. Pavlov 37 

to make his voice heard, he had to wait until he was safely 
outside of the U.S.S.R. Perhaps if even Pavlov had so much 
as whispered such pointed opposition after Kirov's assassina- 
tion, he would have been permanently silenced. 

Those were the last months of Pavlov's life. They were 
strangely coincidental with the experimentations and rehear- 
sals being conducted in the secret-police chambers to extract 
the weird confessions that were to stun the world during 
three major trials. The settings were already being planned 
for the liquidation of all the Old Bolsheviks within the Krem- 
lin's reach, except for one — Stalin. Each of the defendants 
in those three gigantic trials was held, like "the isolated ani- 
mal" of the training film, for from six months to a year, while 
his public performance was being rehearsed in the Pavlovian 
manner. The chief of almost every branch of government 
joined in his own indictment, pleading for his own prompt 
extermination. This shocking exhibition of Pavlov's own 
handiwork, undoubtedly stage-managed without his knowl- 
edge, began six months after his death. 

The preparatory period, in the year before Pavlov died, 
saw a marked change in his own expressed views regarding 
the Kremlin. In those final months of his long life — he was 
eighty-six years and seven months old when he died — Pavlov 
underwent what Gantt refers to as his "conversion." Gantt 
insists that this "was as complete as it was sincere," declaring 
that "Pavlov's change of heart was in no sense a recantation 
such as was forced upon Galileo by the Inquisition." The 
comparison was inescapable, Gantt notwithstanding. The 
only difference was in the improvement of the technique. 

Pavlov, in spite of his advanced age, had a dangerous opera- 
tion for gallstones in 1927. He resumed his strenuous life 
after a short convalescence. The Soviet Government spurred 
him on by heaping additional glory and work on him until 
almost the day he died. "Help me, I must dress," were his 
last words. His Institute of Experimental Medicine had been 
only recently renamed Pavlov Institute in his honor. Outside 
traffic into the area was forbidden by the authorities, increas- 

38 Brainwashing 

ing Pavlov's isolation. Koltushy village, which he loved, was 
renamed Pavlov village. The government's subsidy for his 
laboratories was constantly raised and new workers added to 
his staff. 

Pavlov, in this last year, wrote a letter for the Kremlin 
praising the Stakhanovite movement in labor. The old man 
had no conception of a slave-labor camp, never, of course, 
having gone near one. The unmerciful speed-up of labor in 
factory and mine became identified in his own mind with 
the delightful working conditions in his own privileged and 
comfortable laboratories, where it was a joy to work. 

This was the final cruel brainwashing jest played by the 
Communist Party on Pavlov's own mind. There can be no 
doubt that he was the most protected and privileged character 
in the Soviet Union outside of the Kremlin. Greater favors 
were showered on him than were accorded even to the writers 
and dramatists who wrote the Communist Party's propa- 
ganda. There could be no question that if the Kremlin had 
not felt a critical need for his services, it would never have 
tolerated his biting criticisms for so long. Others, in every 
sphere of life, from the textile workshop to the medical clinic, 
disappeared into slave-labor camps and the grave for voicing 
much milder disagreement. 

Pavlov himself provided the explanation for what hap- 
pened in his case. He told it to a few former friends, such as 
Korostevetz. Those two old neighbors met again in London 
in 1928 when Pavlov went there to be made an honorary 
fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. They had a great 
deal to say to each other, the man who had gone abroad and 
succeeded in picking up the threads of his life, and the man 
who had stayed at home and reaped great benefits. Pavlov 
told Korostevetz all about what had happened in those early 

Conditions were almost unbearable the first few years. 
Pavlov explained how his animals, on which he depended for 
his experiments, succumbed to starvation and the freezing 
cold. He himself sometimes had to stay in bed under blankets 

Ivan P. Pavlov 39 

when he should have been up and at work, because he had 
no fuel to make the cruel Russian winter bearable. When 
he did get out of bed, he was often so hungry he could hardly 
think. The days were wintry short and there usually was no 
electricity. Even when he had light, he had no supplies and 
no money to pay the costs of the simplest experiment. Life 
was indeed miserable, and he had nowhere to turn in all 
Russia for assistance. 

Then he received an astonishing summons. He was in- 
formed that Nikolai Lenin himself, the most important man 
in Bolshevism, wanted to speak to him. The head of the 
state had heard about his experiments and had indicated a 
keen interest in them. Pavlov was brought to the Kremlin 
for an interview that was to be decisive in history as well as 
in his own life. He was received as an honored guest. Lenin 
asked him at once to explain what he was doing, and when 
Pavlov began to give details, Lenin indicated that he was not 
interested in his early work on the digestive apparatus, nor 
in his study of blood circulation. What he wanted to know 
was what he was doing with all those dogs of his. Lenin 
listened carefully while Pavlov told him, and then said yes, 
that was all very fascinating. But what he was interested in 
were human beings, not dogs. What had Pavlov learned 
about people during the course of his experiments? 

This was largely in the realm of speculation, and Pavlov 
tried to avoid giving answers for which he did not have suffi- 
cient physiological basis. He expressed confidence that his 
findings on conditioned reflexes and inhibitions, which re- 
sulted from his experiments with animals, would be a bless- 
ing to mankind someday in its struggle against human ail- 

Lenin persisted in his efforts to pin Pavlov down on people 
and, finally, gave him an assignment. There was no question 
whether he would accept or not. Pavlov was told to stay right 
where he was, inside the Kremlin, until he finished his task. 
He was Lenin's personal guest, given every possible comfort. 
The assignment was to write a summary of his life's work 

40 Brainwashing 

on dogs and other animals; only, he was to apply this knowl- 
edge to human beings. He was to relate in precise detail 
exactly where and how his research did or could affect the 
human race. 

Pavlov told his old neighbor that he occupied a room in 
the Kremlin for three full months. He was a free man so 
long as he stayed where he was and voluntarily kept working 
on his assigned task. His surroundings couldn't have been 
more impressive. Who could tell? Here, perhaps, was an op- 
portunity to convince a man of immense power of the great 
worth of the physician's traditional approach. Could this do 
otherwise than good to the human race? 

Pavlov told Korostevetz that he completed a 400-page 
manuscript. This was a book, a priceless book. He handed it 
to Lenin. 

Pavlov saw Lenin a day or so after the dictator had gone 
over the manuscript. Lenin was in high spirits. He shook his 
hand warmly and told him to return to his laboratories and 
get to work. He would be given all he needed. Lenin's last 
words to him were uttered in a tone of greatest enthusiasm. 
He told Pavlov that he had "saved the Revolution," and that 
his findings guaranteed the future for world communism. 

What Lenin, the remorselessly practical dictator, did not 
tell Pavlov was that he had come to realize how impossible 
it was that he would ever obtain the people's willing co-op- 
eration in changing human nature and creating the "new 
Soviet man." He saw in Pavlov's discoveries a technique that 
could force it upon them. Marx had expected communism to 
change human nature. Lenin had found out that it would 
never happen naturally. Now he saw in the Pavlovian tech- 
nique the ferment which could bring it about despite the 
opposition it naturally aroused. As he read through Pavlov's 
book-length report, he felt sure that he had discovered the 
means to bend free will to the Party will, to his will. 

This was what Lenin thought Pavlov had given him. But 
Lenin, far from showing gratitude, had already betrayed Pav- 
lov. He used the knowledge that he had obtained from Pavlov 

Ivan P. Pavlov 41 

against the aged physiologist himself, in its smoothest and 
most relentlessly subtle form. 

Pavlov's manuscript, which became the working basis for 
the whole communist expansion-control system, has never 
left th€ Kremlin. 



Total Means "Everybody'' 

The newly devised pressures of the mind — mind atrocities 
called brainwashing — were as modern and as devastating an 
advance in war as nuclear fission had been only a few years 
before when it made its unannounced debut with a hellish 
flash and a gigantic mushroom of pallid smoke over the luck- 
less city of Hiroshima. 

The form this brain warfare took was totalitarian, meaning 
just that — total! Civilians and military alike were sucked in 
indiscriminately, in front and rear, in peace and war, exactly 
as communist ideology implies. The civilians who came out 
of brainwashing prisons in Eastern Europe and Red China 
and the soldiers who came out of brainwashing camps in 
North Korea told me the same stories, similar to the smallest 

Although this totalitarian approach was easily grasped in 
theory by the nontotalitarian countries, still they could not 
bring themselves to face the harsh, cruel facts in reality; to 
believe that human beings of any color could really be so 
debased. Otherwise there would be no explanation, no ex- 
cuse, for the unpreparedness of our fighting men taken pris- 
oner by the Reds in Korea. They and their civilian colleagues 
on the Chinese mainland became guinea pigs for a big-scale 
ideological mind warfare, a brainwashing campaign in which 
no weapons were barred. 

Few in the Free World fully realized that the Reds had 
erased the line between war and peace, that for them peace 
merely called for a change in tactics. Few could conceive that 


44 Brainwashing 

the missionary in a prison in the Chinese interior, the busi- 
nessman in an interrogation center in Eastern Europe, and 
the military officer in a cave in North Korea were being asked 
the same questions, were subjected to the same humiliating 
pressures, endured the same tortures, and suffered alike in 
the same gigantic war against men's minds. 

Few could understand that the success of this unified Red 
strategy depended on the people within the communist-bloc 
countries acting their parts as puppets on a string. An actual 
instance of this, which in essential details was acted out again 
and again and again, was the germ-warfare hoax. This, like 
Hitler's big lie, depended on its all-inclusive character to 
carry conviction. This was the big lie acted out in real life. 

Many other instances of the big lie and the travesty of 
responsibility used by the communists can be cited. The 
persons who were forced to enact these fantastic performances 
told me the details. Let me tell you of some such diabolical 
shows as they were related to me by the leading men. You 
have to see a play in rehearsal as well as in its public presenta- 
tion to fully appreciate its completely sinister plot. 

"What a Scoop!" 

A small select group of reporters for the press of Com- 
munist China and North Korea stared at the white prisoner. 
They looked him up and down in the professional manner 
of newspapermen all over the world, silently appraising his 
character and instinctively checking their findings against his 
words and the way in which he presented them. Did he have 
the real goods? Or was he a phony? 

There had been a big change in journalism since the Reds 
had taken over. News was now a weapon. The reporters knew, 
from their own experience on the job, that the new authori- 
ties didn't hesitate to alter details according to what they 
wanted to prove, and even to cut the news out of whole cloth 
when it suited their purposes. 

They had pleaded for this interview for a long time. The 

Brainwashing in Action 45 

first meager reports that had come out about germ warfare in 
Korea were a year old. Since then it had been made the main 
topic of official and semi-official pronouncements, sometimes 
the exclusive subject. The accusations were backed up by 
every conceivable form of proof. Peasants had been brought 
in to tell how they watched the germ containers fall. The 
reporters were shown the shell cases, too. Hadn't epidemics 
broken out in those areas? There were glass slabs on which 
anyone could see, under the microscope, the guilt-proving 
swarms of bacteria swimming about. There were actual flies 
and rats — plenty of them — enough for exhibits all over the 
country. The Red officials appealed to a man's common sense. 
Seeing was believing, wasn't it? Well, here were bugs and 
rats — germ-laden bugs and rats, the Reds said. They brought 
in biologists to agree. Who could refute this weight of cir- 
cumstantial evidence? Only the confession of the guilty party 
had been lacking to make the case airtight. 

The American appeared worn out by the strain that came 
when he finally comprehended his great crime. In his tense 
state, half an hour was all the newspapermen could ask with- 
out taking advantage of him. He spoke earnestly and con- 
tritely. He said he hoped the Chinese and Korean peoples 
would forgive his misdeeds, and explained with disarming 
frankness how he had engaged in germ-warfare attacks against 
the simple peasantry. His eyes looked infinitely sad. The fast 
flow of his answers removed any skepticism. 

The reporters' pencils raced fast. He was obviously sincere. 
He was an American officer, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. 
Everything about him had the stamp of authenticity. The 
six questions they had thought up in a collective manner 
were simple and to the point. What they did not know was 
that the prisoner had been thoroughly rehearsed on these 
same questions before the interview. While the reporters had 
been maneuvered into asking these predetermined questions, 
decided on by the higher authorities, the prisoner was being 
manipulated into giving the desired replies. 

The American pilot — let us give him the neutral name of 
Marlin, for what happened to him was done to others, too — 

46 Brainwashing 

had been informed quite a while before, casually, that the 
newspapermen were pestering the government for a chance 
to talk to one of the men who had actually dropped germ 
bombs. It was carefully explained to Marlin that holding 
them off was getting more and more difficult. "All right, let 
them come," he had finally agreed. 

"They've consented to limit the interview to half an hour," 
he was told. One never knew what a newsman might ask, 
and so they suggested he be prepared for anything. 

"The best thing we can think of is for you to figure out 
ahead of time what the reporters will ask, and decide how 
you'll answer," they advised. So Marlin and his Chinese con- 
fidant, an American-educated fellow named Ling, sat down 
to figure out what questions these troublesome newspaper- 
men would throw at him. 

They went about this in the "democratic discussion" man- 
ner, even though there were only two of them. Marlin and 
Ling kept hammering at a point until they both reached 
agreement on it — this was the new principle of unanimity. 
Once they had agreed on a question likely to be asked, they 
figured out the reply to it. 

"I'm not supposed to be helping you prepare for our re- 
porters this way," Ling confided one day. "I'm only supposed 
to question you. The last thing we want is for you to think 
we're trying to influence what you've got to say." 

"You're a swell feUow, Ling, and I'm terribly thankful 
how you're helping me out," Marlin hastened to reply. He 
was deeply impressed by Ling's thoroughness. The two 
worked together intensively to determine just the right word- 
ing for each answer, and Marlin repeated it often enough to 
never forget it. He almost dreamed it. 

He felt so tir^^d that his mind did tricks on him. He wished 
at times Ling wouldn't be so terribly thorough. They re- 
peated each question again and again, with Ling taking the 
part of the reporters, until Marlin felt as if he were talking 
in his sleep. He shook at times, as if possessed. He was dead- 
tired. This was the one complaint he had against Ling — he 
kept him so dreadfully tired all the time. Marlin remembered 

Brainwashing in Action 47 

reading somewhere in the far, far distant past — ages ago — 
about the subconscious. This seemed at times to change 
places with his normal, conscious self, and to be directing his 
actions and speech. This new Marlin was a strange being, so 
loosely tied to him that several times lately, when he had 
fallen asleep dog-tired — God knows how little sleep he got — 
he woke up feeling as if some part of himself had been de- 
tached and was floating about in the ether, and had to come 
back, and go back into him, before he could arise out of his 
bed and be whole again. 

Marlin was thankful for all this rigorous preparation when 
he sat waiting for the reporters to come in. He felt thankful 
that Ling stayed in the room, so he could steal a glance at 
him whenever he felt the need. 

How could he miss a beat? He had repeated the answers 
so often that they had become part of him, and he couldn't 
forget them if he tried. He believed them himself now, ex- 
plicitly. He had long before stopped thinking about what was 
actually true or not. What was truth, anyway? Nobody knew. 
Sure he believed what he was saying. Yet there were moments 
when in the back of his mind he knew that he was uttering 
falsehoods. Or was he? What was false? Could anyone un- 
derstand what was false anymore, now that he had been 
taught that truth was an unknown factor? 

Others had confessed the same as he. Everyone couldn't 
be wrong. Could they? What of it if someone else had done 
the actual dropping of the germ bombs? They, too, had been 
Americans, hadn't they? They couldn't all be lying. His bud- 
dies had done it. Well, he was one of them; he represented 
them. Weren't they all one team, as his superior officers had 
told him? A collectivity, as the communists expressed it. 
Wasn't it only a difference in terminology? 

Enough of this nonsense; he'd go crazy if he kept worrying 
his head about it. He sometimes felt daffy. "Am I going 
mad?" he wondered at times. His job was to keep sane, to 
retain his balance. This was his priority job now. The war 
was over for him. He had to be clever and keep his skin 

48 Brainwashing 

Yes, he had been given a little help from that Chinese 
interrogator who kept sticking to him like a leech. There he 
was, still standing where he could not miss him. He couldn't 
take his eyes off that yellow, spiteful face. How he hated him! 

He was a pest. He'd like to strangle him. For a moment the 
desire came over him to walk over and take his scrawny neck 
in his hands and shake it like a chicken's until all life had 
left it. Why did he look at him that way? Ling didn't seem 
able to take his eyes off him. Or was it the other way round? 
All Ling wanted was to help him. Marlin knew this well. 
Hadn't Ling often told him? "You're your own boss," he 
always said. He kept telling Marlin that he didn't have to 
make a move or open his mouth until he wanted to, until he 
believed it himself. That was the right way, the new "people's 
way." Ling had told him that, too. Ling told him everything. 
Good old Ling! He was always so patient, and he always tried 
to do just what Marlin wanted, even to anticipate his wants. 
Marlin had never met anyone in the U.S. military service 
who was that patient and thoughtful. 

After the fateful interview was over, thinking about it to 
himself, Marlin recalled with a glow of elation how he had 
held those reporters in the palm of his hand. He had been 
ahead of them all the time. He felt high, from smoking mari- 
juana. The Reds had told him not to, but he did. He foxed 
them; the stuff was growing all over the place. Funny, if they 
were so anxious to keep it out of his hands, why didn't they 
uproot it? He was glad he had taken that puff. Ling wasn't 
so foxy as he thought. 

The reporters were just as satisfied as he. The interview was 
a success, from any angle. What particularly impressed them 
was the frank way Marlin answered their toughest questions. 
He showed no hesitancy. Now they had the final proof that 
America had engaged in cowardly and loathsome germ war- 
fare against the poor peoples of Korea and China. They had 
the details from the mouth of a man who had done so. This 
was the incontrovertible proof that they were seeking. 

What a story! Every newspaper in every city in China ran 
their interviews, in full, too. They were copied by hand, for 

Brainwashing in Action 49 

wall newspapers posted on countless house fronts in every 
city street and village lane. They reached incalculably more 
people than the daily press. Farmers were approached in wet 
paddies where they worked by ''able Party members" who 
told them the news. 

The radio, with an emphasis all its own, repeated every 
detail. The routine discussion meetings, held daily in every 
school, office, or factory, were given over to this news by 
order of the authorities. The interviews were read out loud 
during lunch or after work, by group chairmen who asked, 
in the "democratic manner," for each person present to 
express his frank opinion about this "unspeakable barbarity 
perpetrated by the imperialist Americans." The repressed 
burdens each man carried within himself could find vent 

Everybody in China, within the space of a few days, heard 
about this dramatic spontaneous interview at which a group 
of reliable Chinese and Korean reporters spoke face to face 
with an American germ-warfare pilot. Every person was 
given the feeling of being an eyewitness. Everyone in all of 
China was called on to swat flies and squash bugs. The au- 
thorities explained that there was no telling how many inno- 
cent people had been infected with the "American plague," 
as they officially called it. A minimum quota was set for 
insect slayings, and each family had to send a bundle of the 
tiny corpses to neighborhood leaders. Schoolchildren had to 
deliver their quota to their teachers. All these were then 
passed on to the police for listing, so that nobody could 
evade his responsibility to the state. 

The news was radioed and cabled around the world, so it 
could reach the quiet folk of India and the hot people of the 
Argentine, the sophisticated gentry of England and even the 
guilty Americans themselves. Everywhere, from New Delhi 
to London, from Djakarta to Mexico City, numerous editors, 
who said they were being objective, informed their readers 
that such disclosures could not lightly be brushed aside. After 
all, hadn't it been a group review? For doubting Thomases, 
there were movies made of the interview, so all could see and 

50 Brainwashing 

hear with their own senses. So people abroad would know, 
the films were shown to selected groups o£ officials and ordi- 
nary citizens at parties given by Red diplomats. 

This was no make-believe! This was war! This was how 
the communists were waging war in the mid-twentieth cen- 
tury. Some called it psychological warfare. A better name 
would be brain warfare. The only difference between it and 
the conflicts of the past was that formerly weapons were 
aimed principally at bodies, to incapacitate and destroy them, 
whereas now they were aimed mainly at minds, to subvert 
and control them. 

What had altered was the type of weapons used. The dis- 
covery had been made that behind each gun there had to be 
a will, and that whoever could manipulate this will was able 
to determine where the bullets sped — to friends instead of 
foes, or whether they were fired at all. The discovery had 
been made, too, that in brain warfare ultimate victory lay 
in the conquest of attitudes and feelings. In this arena, any- 
thing that achieved this objective, that hit the target, was a 

Sam Dean 


The first time I heard about Sam Dean was at Hong Kong. 
Refugees from Red China, who had come by ship, told me 
about an elderly engineer who had tried to persuade his 
escort at Tientsin to let him go to the police station because 
he remembered some points he had failed to include in his 
confession. Poor, saintly Sam Dean had felt the full weight 
of the confession technique. Within the next couple of 
weeks, mutual friends told me how Dean sat at the table, 
staring over his plate, never blinking, not seeing what was 
in front of him, seldom speaking. Ruth, his courageous and 
devoted wife, filled the gaps in the conversation. 

Although I very much wanted to see him and hear from 
his own lips what had happened, I knew this would impose 

Brainwashing in Action 51 

too great a strain on him. The couple sailed for home soon 
after. The probability that I would never meet him was great. 

Yet the chance came, nearly two years ago. The interval 
was fortunate, for the Deans were now living in the Navajo 
Indian territory in Arizona, where he was teaching and help- 
ing operate an electric power plant in the large compound 
of the Ganado Presbyterian Mission. Aided by the wide open 
spaces and the naked, hot sun, renewed with a sense of 
accomplishment and a job still to do, he had worked the 
poisons out of his mind. This was what was most important 
in his story. He was now able to appraise what had been done 
to him in Red China. 

Sam could not have been sent to a more favorable spot for 
his recovery. He was in the United States, yet in an environ- 
ment that reminded him of China, especially the northern 
part where he had spent so many years. The similarity in the 
appearance of the people was striking. The Indian trading 
post where the bus stopped, which sold rough turquoise and 
chipped ruby gems, hammered silver bracelets and buckles, 
might have been in Kalgan, near the Gobi Desert. The horse- 
man who came up, wearing a fancy vest, sitting on a sun- 
bright saddle, heralded by a tinkling harness, could have 
been coming down the rust-colored road from Mongolia. 

Sam said he sometimes had the impression he was back in 
China, teaching Chinese students, especially when he heard 
the Indian dialect. The Navajo language has tones like 
Chinese. While we chatted about this mutual interest, I 
noticed that Sam, six feet two, looked the Western type for 
whom sincerity is a faith. I could easily imagine him, in his 
younger Texan days, thrusting a leg over a bronco and 
riding into the horizon. 

The Deans put me up in the comfortable Mission rest- 
house. Petrified rock that had captured the rainbow tints of 
the sun was scattered on the ground outside. I stayed several 
days, so we had plenty of time to talk. 

Sam's father had taught in a freedman's school for the 
Negroes after the Civil War. Both his grandfathers were 
Presbyterian ministers. Sam, now in his sixties, had taken 

52 Brainwashing 

up railroading before obtaining a degree in mechanical en- 
gineering and at middle age went back to school to get a 
degree in architectural engineering. A short while before 
World War I the Y.M.C.A. was recruiting young men to 
serve in the schools of China and Sam volunteered. This 
was how he went to Asia in 1914. 

Sam discovered that education and work didn't mix in 
Chinese minds. He determined he could contribute most by 
teaching young Chinese to learn by doing, to get proud peo- 
ple proud to dirty their hands doing a job. He often got his 
own hands full of grease, setting the example. He watched 
carefully for young people with good brains and fine motives 
who were not afraid to pitch in and work. He trained them 
to teach night classes of apprentices and craftsmen. His ob- 
jective was to develop Chinese students who would build up 
their own country. He had nothing to do with politics. His 
trust was in people of character who did things for them- 
selves, who believed that God's greatest gift was a brain and 
two hands, and that these went together. 

He gathered around himself a circle of his former Chinese 
students who, like himself, believed that a hand dirtied by 
honest toil was the most honorable badge a man could wear. 
They designed and supervised the construction of modern 
buildings all over China. Schools, hospitals, and churches 
went up from Canton to Peking, usually at no cost whatso- 
ever to China, in a style that retained Chinese motifs while 
adding modern facilities. 

World War I came and went. Yenching University eagerly 
took over Sam's engineering school, asking only that the 
ideals of its founder and his methods of instruction be re- 
tained. World War II came and went. Sam was building a 
faculty that was bound to exert powerful influence in every 
corner of the land. He now had Chinese instructors who had 
completed their training with firsthand experience abroad 
in everything from constructing bridges to erecting power 

People remarked to Sam that the Reds were nearing 
Peking. He believed that any human being who had dedi- 

Brainwashing in Action 53 

cated his life to education, something always respected in 
China and who, in addition, was turning out increasing 
numbers of men to dirty their hands in the sort of labor the 
new China so desperately needed, could never have any politi- 
cal difficulties. He felt that any regime, even a Red one, 
would consider what he was doing an asset to the govern- 

Fighting went on north of Yenching. Afterwards, when 
friends mentioned that the Reds had come, he said, "Oh yes, 
they have, haven't they? So they have," and just kept on with 
his job. He was dedicated to his task and to his objectives for 
the Chinese people — all of them. He simply wasn't interested 
in politics. He had never voted anywhere or joined any 
political faction; he had never mixed in politics. 

"All around me I heard talk of it being just an agrarian 
revolution," Sam said. "That there was any communism in it 
was pooh-poohed. I had lived through more than twenty big 
and little civil wars in China and was led to believe this was 
just one more. After all, politics wasn't my subject, and 
people who kept up on those things kept telling me that 
this was really just a reform movement." 

Chinese faculty members, on behalf of the new communist 
authorities, came to him and said, "Carry on! Everyone here 
knows what you are doing for China." The university head 
called in the American faculty members and asked them to 
continue as before, mentioning guarantees promised by the 
new government. Soon, however, classes had virtually 
stopped. Varieties of "learning" meetings were taking up all 
the time. The students were working on confessions, as were 
many of the faculty members. The big auditorium was now 
given over exclusively to these matters. 

The university head called Sam in to explain that a 
Chinese now had to head every department, and while the 
authorities were most anxious for him to continue his work 
just as he had been doing, his title would have to go to some- 
one else. "A title doesn't mean anything to me," he replied 
at once. 

As the money for his work came from American contribu- 

54 Brainwashing 

tors, a new problem was created when funds for Red China 
were frozen. He was asked whether he would accept the same 
salary as an ordinary Chinese professor. Sixty American dol- 
lars a month! This was to be his pay after a lifetime of 
achievement that was visible in modern structures and skilled 
people all over China. Sam saw this as a test of his sincerity. 
He figured out his resources. He had saved some money, and 
had planned on returning home in a few years. He had no 
need to buy any clothes for quite some time. He could raise 
vegetables in his garden. He was residing in a little house on 
a small island with a lotus lagoon around it. He could stay 
there. So he willingly agreed. He did so particularly after 
hints were dropped by Chinese that they would feel safer if 
someone on whom responsibility could rest, such as himself, 
remained on the faculty. 

He would be less than human if he didn't feel personal 
satisfaction over this evidence that he was needed. He threw 
himself wholeheartedly into his work, not concerning him- 
self with anything else. This kept him from heeding certain 
warning signals. Students and professors, his old friends 
among the contractors and technicians in Peking, visited him 
more and more rarely. Soon none came. Later he learned 
that they were not allowed to visit Americans any more. Old 
contacts who happened to walk by when witnesses weren't 
present told him this was not against him personally. They 
emphasized their respect and affection for him. 

Meetings were being held in vacant rooms and open spaces 
wherever a group could gather to discuss, self-criticize, and 
confess. The big staff room in his power plant, which he had 
to pass to get to his office on the mezzanine, was taken over. 
Meetings were run by his former students and workmen he 
had known for years. He saw some new faces, of people who 
had never been to Yenching. Party folk came in from the 
outside and wandered about, and when they saw him, would 
ask, "Who's that American? What's he doing here?" 

The university head called him in one day and warned 
him not to continue traveling about on his bicycle. He asked 
him, too, to let the police — now stationed at the gate — ^know 

Brainwashing in Action 55 

whenever he went out and where he was going. Sam noticed 
that this man wrote everything down. The policeman told 
him to be sure not to go anywhere except where he said. Sam 
was positive such nonsense would blow over, and didn't men- 
tion it to his wife, so as not to worry her. He kept it all to 
himself. "If the objective of the new regime is to have the 
Chinese people take over, it is what I want, too," he told 
himself. The situation became very tense during the Korean 
War. Classes became even more difficult, and an assistant was 
assigned to him to do the actual teaching. 

Sometimes during the germ-warfare scare he'd overhear 
exclamations such as, "Watch him; he's probably polluting 
the well water." Could this mean him? Sam couldn't believe 
it. But everyone was talking as if there was no question but 
that the U.S. was engaging in a germ attack. 

They started building walls around the workshops and the 
power plant that he had constructed, and banned him from 
them. Loudspeakers were strung up on the water tower and 
on the gables of various buildings. These were busy blaring 
out the proceedings of constant meetings. Accusations, self- 
criticisms, and confessions were on the air until late at night. 
The atmosphere became heavier. Something was cooking, he 
knew, but he could not believe it could possibly involve him. 
Then one day he got an order to attend a meeting in a small 


When Sam came into the hall, he was surprised to see it 
fitted up like a courtroom. The stage was taken over for 
extra seats. Sam sat in one of the front rows facing several 
desks and a blackboard in the open space in the center. He 
was in the dock. A returned student from America, now 
heading the department of journalism, took charge. This lad 
had been in the communist underground long before the 
Reds came in, even while studying in America. Another re- 
turned student, a geographer who had studied in England, 
sat at one of the desks. 

56 Brainwashing 

Several cases were handled before his. Sam felt sorry for 
these people — both the accused and the accusers — as he 
watched the same scene repeat itself each time. A student in- 
structor was called forth and informed that his confession 
was "not frank" and that he had to do it over. The chairman 
and co-chairman discussed its contents publicly, and the audi- 
ence, composed of students and faculty, joined in. Everyone 
seemed to have a suggestion, and the accused had to satisfy 
them all. Everyone acted as judge, but the chairman had 
final say. His role appeared to be to guide the verdict of the 
audience into the strict pattern. Sam got the impression that 
each had already rewritten his confession several times. The 
accused were not given their old confessions back, but had to 
write them entirely new. These were then compared for con- 

He was still wondering about this when one professor stood 
up. His face reddened as he glanced toward Sam. He seemed 
to be reciting something he had rehearsed. "I heard him pro- 
nounce my name," Sam said. "He was accusing me! He said 
something about me and my relationship to Leighton Stuart, 
founder and former president of Yenching. What this pro- 
fessor was saying, it dawned on me, was that Stuart had 
picked me specially to start a school of engineering to train 
subversives to sabotage Chinese industry. He said Stuart's 
appointment as American ambassador to China proved he 
had been a spy and a saboteur all along. Mine was a school 
of sabotage, he said." 

Sam was not called on to speak. After the accusation, the 
chairman stood up and angrily ordered him to leave. He did 
so, not knowing what it portended. He was left to worry 
about it. Posters appeared all over the campus accusing him 
of all sorts of "imperialist crimes." 

Nothing was said directly to him until one afternoon when 
his wife called to him, saying, "Sam, what are those people 
doing over there on the lagoon?" He didn't notice anything 
unusual at first, then saw someone walking about, as if search- 
ing for something. His wife pointed to another part of the 
encircling pathway, where someone else was doing the same. 

Brainwashing in Action 57 

Then they saw one of the campus policemen from the gate 
approach. The Deans went out on the porch to greet him. 
He didn't greet them, only curtly ordered them not to leave 
the house. His wife asked why, as everyone knew they stayed 
at home all the time now. Somebody was coming to question 
them, the cop said. 

Others joined the people circling the lagoon until there 
was quite a crowd. The Deans saw someone else approach, 
whom they recognized as a workman. He didn't return their 
greeting, but went into their house without a word and 
yanked the telephone off the wall. 

Suppertime came and the Deans ate as usual, except this 
evening they didn't draw the curtains. They sat in front of 
the window, so everyone could see what they were doing. The 
date was March 20, 1952. 

Nobody came until 8 p.m. Then three Chinese in faded 
yellow uniforms entered, while a crowd milled around out- 
side the house. The three proceeded to make a methodical 
search. One was an American-educated faculty member who 
made believe he didn't speak English, but Sam saw the shame 
in his eyes. The couple were ordered to sit on the couch and 
not talk. "We felt foolish, like bugs on a log, sitting this way 
for a couple of hours," Sam said. The Reds put the things 
they wanted in a heap, including a scarlet silk banner, em- 
broidered with golden threads, that had been given to Sam 
in appreciation for what he had done for China. They went 
through his Bible page by page, to see if anything was hidden 
in it. They took most of his personal photos, especially if 
Chinese were in them. 

When they finished, they stopped near the door, holding 
the loot in their hands. 'Tou are a very bad man," they said 
to Dean. "We don't know what we are going to do with you. 
We haven't decided yet. Meanwhile, you can stay here." He 
was given a receipt made out for "sundry articles" and in- 
structed to show any letter he might write to the communist 
official in town. 

A few days later the Deans received formal permission to 
keep their servant, who alone could go to market, and to use 

58 Brainwashing 

the water and electricity in their home. The ban against re- 
ceiving visitors was repeated — ^as if anyone would dare be 
seen talking to them now! 

This was house arrest, after a month of virtual campus 
arrest. Sam knew he had to stay put. 

'Tor five days we sat and worried over what would come 
next," Sam said. "Then, on March 25, I was summoned to 
the Bureau of Public Safety. This was the police station. I 
was sent upstairs and seated in a chair in the center of a 
room. Police officials sat all around me. They had prepared a 
long page of accusations. They told me I had been accused 
of a great many crimes and that many persons had given 
them evidence of my misdeeds. I felt a sinking feeling as I 
thought of the pressures that must have been put on my 
former students and associates. I now saw why they had made 
sure I stayed home and didn't go into the college buildings. 
They had rifled the files for material to go with what they 
had seized in the raid on my home. 

" 'We have been investigating you for a long time,' they 
said. Tou should know you have made many enemies because 
you treated people badly.' This gave me a shock. I couldn't 
understand why anyone should be my enemy or how I could 
have treated anyone badly. 'The teachers and students have 
told us all about your misdeeds,' they continued. 'You might 
just as well confess these things right now. We know all about 
the subversive activities in which you've engaged and the 
spying you've done.' 

"I sat stunned, not knowing what to say to show them how 
wrong they were. Of course, I was foolish to think they be- 
lieved the accusations themselves. They started asking ques- 
tions right after this, from the long page of accusations and 
a pile of notes. I answered as honestly as I could. They in- 
sisted I speak only Chinese. I spoke it well, but couldn't 
understand what they meant. They spoke a new kind of 
language, using a lot of political terminology I had never 
learned. My language was the Chinese spoken by the people 
— by the workers, students, and contractors. 

"They were terribly angry over my ignorance and insisted 

Brainwashing in Action 59 

that everything be expressed in the new political jargon. 
'You claim to be a Christian, don't you?' one suddenly asked, 

" 'Yes,' I replied. 'I don't claim to be a very good one. I 
only try to be.' 

" 'Do you think it's good for a Christian missionary to live 
in a fine house and get a big salary?' I was asked. 'Did you 
ever live better than your Chinese associates?' 

"I tried to explain that the house I lived in was part of 
my salary, and had been built by the mission with money 
from America. Actually, it was a very simple home. I didn't 
want a big house, and told them so. Their only retort was, 
'Don't tell us a lie like that. You're an imperialist. Why don't 
you provide a big house like that for your Chinese associates?' 

" 'I'm a poor man,' I said. 'I have no money to build a 
house for anyone, even for myself.* 

" 'Then why didn't the mission?' they said. 

" 'The money it sends to China is contributed by poor 
people, too,' I replied. This quibbling went on for hours. 
Lunchtime came and I wasn't given a chance to eat. Only 
once that day was I allowed to go to a toilet. Groups came 
into the room to question me in relays. As soon as one group 
got tired, a fresh batch came in and got to work on me. 

" 'You've told us nothing but lies the whole morning,' one 
group said. 'You've confessed to terrible things, such as liv- 
ing in a better house than your Chinese associates, but you 
don't admit it's a terrible thing. So we'll let you sit here and 
think about it.' Then they left me all alone. 

"These questioners made a big thing out of my designing 
and building the Peking Language School, where Chinese 
was taught. British, Americans, all the missions, and the 
Rockefeller Institute gave funds to help pay for it, so they 
insisted it was a training school for American subversives 
and headquarters for a cultural invasion of China. My con- 
struction of it was interpreted as a disservice to China. I 
admitted my part in building the school and the source of the 
funds. They insisted this was a confession, although I denied 
their conclusion. 

6o Brainwashing 

"My mistake was in taking this seriously, thinking they 
actually believed what they were saying. I tried hard to ex- 
press my viewpoint truthfully. They made something evil 
out of my friendship for Mr. Stuart and Sidney Gamble of 
Ivory Soap, who contributed a great deal of money to Yen- 
ching for its School of International Affairs. The schools of 
Journalism, Sociology, and Political Science all were in- 
corporated into it. They said it was all done to create sub- 
versives and espionage agents. Tou sent teachers and mis- 
sionaries to engage in a cultural invasion, to wean the 
Chinese away from love of their country,' they shouted at me. 

"I had conducted a survey for Sid Gamble in connection 
with a fund appeal for simple industrial projects, such as a 
dairy farm, that could have enabled the Chinese to pay for 
their own schools, hospitals, and churches. A Chinese girl 
studying engineering did an extensive survey for me. All this 
was now hurled at me as accusations. My mind was reeling. 
They let me go home only after dark. 'We should put you in 
prison for all these crimes, but we won't,' they said. 'We are 
going to let you go home. But we want you to show your 
penitence by writing your confessions. You are to spend the 
next few weeks thinking about all the crimes you've com- 
mitted and confess them in writing. One of our representa- 
tives will visit you every so often to see if you are doing as 
we've ordered.' " 

This was as far as we could go with the interview that first 
night in Arizona, for Sam was working the late shift at the 
power plant. His wife stayed behind, deeply stirred by her 
husband's recital. She remembered how low he had looked 
when he came home after that grilling. "He was so very, very 
unhappy," she said simply. " 'They want me to write down 
everything I've done against the interests of the people,' he 
told me. I could tell from his voice how seriously he took it. 
He could not believe human beings would be so evil as to 
make such horrible accusations against a person if there 
wasn't some truth in them. He couldn't understand how he 
had been doing wrong. 

"He began writing confessions right after breakfast the 

Brainwashing in Action 61 

next morning. As he had nothing to confess, he only tortured 
himself. He probed and probed into his motives and his past; 
whenever he thought of something he jotted it down in a 
notebook. He filled entire notebooks that way. This was all 
he did for a month. I tried to argue with him, saying, 'Sam, 
you know there wasn't anything wrong in this,' pointing to 
a paragraph. 'What you did was right.' 'But, this is what they 
now say is wrong,' he'd reply. He'd lay his pen down and 
look at me with deep sorrow in his eyes. 

"He knew his old students and associates, now scattered 
all over the country, would have to denounce him to stay out 
of trouble themselves. They would have to confess the same 
as he. He just couldn't believe it, and kept thinking it was 
something he had done. Then he dug deeper into his soul. 
He became terribly depressed. My heart was torn because I 
couldn't do anything for him. He wracked his brain a whole 
month this way, trying to find where he had sinned, sincerely 
trying to do as they had instructed." 

He kept working at his notebooks, copying and rewriting. 
"This is not quite right, is it?" he would ask his wife, read- 
ing it to her. "Is this true?" he would inquire, and pray over 
it for guidance. 

"I was able to get him to work a bit in the garden now and 
then," she said. "I tried everything, but usually he just sat 
in his corner, thinking and thinking, filling those notebooks. 
The communists now had the only copies of the letters he 
had written, and he was trying desperately to remember 
them so he could explain them and admit any errors." 

On April 24 they summoned him once again, and once 
more he left at dawn and returned only after dark. This time 
he took with him a heap of notebooks, written in tragic sin- 
cerity and with real agony. After going over them, the in- 
quisitors turned on him and screamed, "You're lying. You're 
not being frank. Confess! You're not telling the truth. You're 
hiding much more." 

Again teams of fresh interrogators came in relays, ham- 
mering at him every minute. Once more he had not a bite to 
eat all day. "I was by then a little out of my head," he told 

62 Brainwashing 

me. "That month at home writing my confessions had been 
a greater strain than I had realized. I remember finally break- 
ing down and saying I would confess to anything that was 
true, but that I was a Christian, and couldn't help wishing 
they were Christians, too. 

"When I said this, they all got up immediately and left. 
This was late in the afternoon. I blacked out. I was prac- 
tically nuts, I suppose. After what seemed a long while, a big 
shot came in. He brought paper and a Chinese brush. He 
said, 'You've confessed this and that, and the other thing; 
now write it all down.' There were nine or ten points. I had 
lived in a big house while other Chinese didn't. I had a bigger 
salary than others. I had built the Peking Language School. 
All this was true, but lies the way they were written. I was 
very hungry, terribly tired, and dreadfully worn out. The 
official dictated what he said I confessed, and asked me to 
sign it. As soon as I did, he grabbed the paper from under my 
nose and stalked out. I hardly knew what was happening. I 
was like an automaton. Only now can I talk about those 
things without going into a daze." 

He said they returned in a group and read him the whole 
list of his supposed crimes, including the charge that he was 
a spy, which they said he had admitted, too. "I remember 
them saying I was an old man now who couldn't do them 
much harm any more," Sam went on. "They said they ought 
to put me in prison but because of my age they would let 
me leave China. They said I had to quit Yenching at ten 
A.M. on Sunday, taking the train from Peking to Tientsin. 
They said they had arranged where I would stay until the 
first ship left for Hong Kong. They warned me to hurry to 
get my documents in order for leaving. 

"I was in such a fog that I don't know how I got home. I 
had only two days in which to complete arrangements. My 
wife went with me to the government offices. I don't really 
know how I got from Peking to Hong Kong. I now realize 
that for several weeks at Hong Kong, while arrangements 
Were being made for me to come home, I just stared ahead 

Brainwashing in Action 63 

when I sat at table for meals. I remember that my eyes were 
always open, while I hardly noticed a thing." 

This gentle, conscientious bridge-builder and house- 
builder, man-builder and soul-builder, had passed safely 
through his undeserved purgatory. We took a walk into the 
red hills where the Indians built huts called hogans. I 
couldn't see them until Sam pointed them out for me, for 
they were blended into the landscape like camouflage. We 
talked a bit about Indians, and on the way back we discussed 
his experiences again. He said he now understood how the 
Reds had laid their trap for him and how he hadn't noticed 
it until he was caught in it. "The communist tactic, when 
they want a certain action taken, is not to say so at all," he 
said. "One by one, they make every alternative move impossi- 
ble. They put you in a position where you have no other 
possibility but to do as they wish. They never say. Do so and 
so. That, they insist, is not the 'democratic' way. They say 
you have to act voluntarily. They don't tell you what they 
wish, but wait for you to find out by yourself, no matter how 
long it takes. You're trapped like a rat. You've perfect free- 
dom to choose, they say. You try one way and find it's im- 
possible because perhaps money is lacking. You try another 
method, and it doesn't work for some other reason. They 
make sure of it. Finally, you have to take the line they've 
wanted all along, although nobody told you." 

Sam realized, as much as anyone, the critical blow dealt 
him. Soon after returning to America he set to work, in his 
characteristic manner, to pull himself out of the doldrums 
into which the Reds had put him. He took a radio and tele- 
vision course that forced him to concentrate. "I felt that as 
I had been a student so many years, if I could select a new 
subject and master it, I would regain my faculties," he told 
me. "It wasn't easy. At first I read and read and got nowhere. 
Five minutes afterwards, everything left my mind. I was only 
able to keep up with a simple routine. I kept making silly 
mistakes because I couldn't remember instructions. I was a 
very slow student. A little fatigue knocked me out. It wasn't 

64 Brainwashing 

me at all. I'd sit at the table nervous from exhaustion and 
suddenly blank out. 

"The most painful task I ever did in my life was this job 
of forcing myself to remember again. By keeping doggedly 
at it, I've been slowly getting back into shape. It's taken a 
long time." 

John D. Hayes 


The one thing that John D. Hayes never could have imag- 
ined happening to him was to have a hallucination. He was 
the last type of individual one would think of in this con- 
nection. He possessed everything that should have made it 
impossible in his case — a clear, strong-willed mind, a fine 
physique, an excellent education, and deep convictions. He 
had always been able to reason clearly, to separate fact from 
fancy. Yet he had a hallucination, with all the trimmings, 
and it was the climax to his brainwashing. 

That made him confess to what never happened and, what 
is more important, convinced him at the time that he was 
telling the truth. When he told me about it, I felt that here 
was the key to the inner mechanism of a whole chain of 
baffling confessions that had stunned the world, from the 
early Moscow trials to Cardinal Mindszenty's pathetic break- 
down and the germ-warfare performance put on by the Reds 
in Korea. 

Hayes was a highly educated man who was capable of 
objectively studying his own case, putting the details into 
perspective, analyzing what had been done to him and what 
'effect it had on his mind. He had studied psychology and 
knew of Pavlov's theories, although when arrested, he didn't 
dream that the physiologist's experiments could have any 
possible relation to his case. 

The first time I met him was at his home in Washington, 
about half a year after his release from the communist prison 
in Kweiyang, in central China, where he had undergone an 

Brainwashing in Action 65 

intense siege of brainwashing. He was able then to give me 
only a smattering account of what he had gone through. He 
was still too near this mental hell to be able to stand the 
strain of thinking back on it deeply. When he searched his 
mind for details, it was like probing into a still unhealed 
wound. It hurt. The agony that brainwashing imposes on its 
victims was still in his eyes. 

We next met more than a year later, on the other side of 
the world in Singapore, where he was stopping briefly on his 
way to Indonesia. We took up where we had left off in our 
previous discussion. Points which previously could not be 
analyzed because of the mental anguish they caused could 
now be logically pursued. 

He was now able to present an integrated account of how 
he had been led by subtle and brutal pressures to believe and 
admit what had never taken place. What was evident when 
I first met him was doubly evident now — the most important 
part of his case was that he took all the Reds dealt him and 
yet beat them in the end. This was the thrilling finale of the 
Soviet extravaganza, an act they hadn't written. The Reds 
were never able to achieve their primary objective with him. 
His mind kept slipping away from them. 

The communists had been able to do anything they wanted 
with Hayes except what they most wanted. He had something 
in him they couldn't take away without destroying his mind 
or body. Either way, he would be useless to them. He left 
them self-defeated. His experiences exposed the fatal limita- 
tions to brainwashing. 

Hayes had a big frame and was bearded like a sailor. In 
spite of his age — he was about sixty-five — he retained the 
athletic contours of his youth, when he played basketball for 
Princeton and rowed at Oxford. His high scholastic attain- 
ments won him honors and degrees from both universities. 

He had been born near Chefoo in North China of mis- 
sionary parents, becoming a missionary in turn. He was per- 
fectly at home among the Chinese. He had thoroughly mas- 
tered Mandarin, the national language. They often told him 

66 Brainwashing 

they considered him as one of them. The Chinese mind 
seemed part o£ him. 

His inquisition really began when he saw close friends and 
old colleagues arrested and executed. The authorities already 
were irritated because a cast of seventeen of his students had 
put on the Merchant of Venice, with its dangerous thoughts 
about the quality of mercy. A Chinese official whom he con- 
sidered one of the noblest of men was taken out one day and 
shot. The Red student group in his class pointedly called on 
Hayes right afterwards to ask his "opinion" of it. He frankly 
said, " No civilized country ever shoots a man for his political 

When they put this into the papers next day, Hayes felt the 
cords tightening about him. A couple of days later, when the 
news spread that General MacArthur had been dismissed, he 
felt even more sure of it and figured he had only a very little 
time left as a free man. Peking would now be even more 
cocksure in its hate-America campaign. So next morning he 
told his classes, "I'm proud of America. For the first time in 
history a nation has cashiered its winning general for fear of 
offending the sensibilities of a friendly people." 

The following day the authorities informed him that he 
had "committed the sin" of attacking the new government, 
that "there was probably more behind it, and the law would 
now take its course." He was ordered to go home and con- 
sider himself under house arrest. As his wife had left shortly 
before the Reds took over, Hayes was alone in his home for 
the next six months, subject to a whole chain of strange 
pressures. A hard-core communist named Feng, who headed 
the neighborhood ten-family group, came at any hour of the 
day or night, staying for hours at a time. 

He kept up a continuous conversation to which Hayes was 
obliged to listen and answer. He obviously had received in- 
structions on what to say, for he mixed his talk with curious 
"advice" and snap questions. He was especially interested in 
what friends showed up. No Chinese dared come any more. 
One American friend came for a chat regularly once a week. 
This was noted and Hayes's hallucination nine months later 

Brainwashing in Action 67 

was directly connected with the insistence that he remember 
every word they had spoken. 

At the end of the first month, the police informed him 
that as "no overt revolutionary activity" had been traced to 
him, he could leave his house but must use discretion when 
doing so. From then on Hayes did his own marketing once 
daily. One of his rooms was taken over by a local adult 
literacy class whose instructor obviously helped Feng in his 
surveillance. He was married to Feng's sister. 

When meals were prepared, Feng's habit was to invite him- 
self to share them. Hayes was much tempted to buy extra 
food, but what he already had learned of Red subterfuge 
warned him against doing so. This continual drain on his 
mental and physical resistance brought his weight down con- 
siderably. He was lucky he had deprived himself, though, be- 
cause in prison he was accused of "entertaining" Feng and 
when he denied it, they checked up with his cook. Otherwise, 
he would have been trapped into another "crime," the very 
serious one of "bribing a communist officer." The need to 
think ahead every moment to avoid falling into such traps 
was an extra strain. 

One day Feng blithely announced he wasn't coming back 
and that Hayes was free to see anyone he wished. The Reds 
hoped that others whom they hadn't uncovered would take 
this opportunity to visit Hayes under the impression that the 
heat was off. Hayes himself was led to believe this and asked 
for an exit permit. Instead, at dawn of October 29, 1951, he 
heard a terrific racket at the gate. The next thing he knew 
revolver butts were being pounded on his bedroom door. 
When he opened it, he stared into three revolvers and the 
first words he heard were, "You are an imperialist spy!" 

"Fm not!" he retorted, although he knew this sounded 
childish. They manacled him and pushed him out into the 
cold in his pajamas. They spent an hour ransacking the 
house, seeking a gold cache which they insisted he had 
hidden to finance his "operations." They then called him 
back into the house, sat him down at his desk, and photo- 
graphed him beside an unfinished letter to his son, then in 

68 Brainwashing 

Princeton, saying this was proof of his spying. They ordered 
him back into bed, so they could photograph him being 
arrested. For more realism they unlocked one wrist and 
ordered him to hold up this unmanacled hand. The photo- 
graph posed the police officer so the picture would show him 
pointing his pistol at Hayes. The cop glared realistically. 

What gave all this an insane rather than a silly complexion 
was that the room was dark and the photographer had no 
flash for his commonplace camera. The negative couldn't 
possibly show a thing and everyone knew it, yet they all went 
through the motions. This was only play-acting. If it weren't 
for the fact that so much suffering and killing accompanied 
this sort of thing, nobody would have taken it seriously. The 
deadly consequences gave it importance. Anyone who denied 
its reality would be quickly and fiercely disabused. 

From his lifelong knowledge of and intimate relations 
with the Chinese Hayes knew he had to take the chance and 
deflate them a little bit. Otherwise they would consider him 
too much the sucker and take even greater advantage of him. 
If he told them in so many words that the picture wasn't 
going to come out and why kid themselves, they would lose 
so much face among themselves that they would be sure to 
revenge themselves on him. So, in a knowing voice, Hayes 
asked the cameraman, "What aperture are you using?" He 
thought his head was going to be cracked open then and 
there! They got the point at once and all turned on him! 

But such things tire a person's mind! Who was fooling 
whom? Must everyone go through the entire make-believe 
for the crazy pattern to work? Where did fantasy begin or 
end and realism come in? A man couldn't help being affected 
by these acts. Actually, they ultimately led up to Hayes's 

This particular diversion gave him the opportunity to grab 
his fur coat on the way out, which served him for the next 
four months in prison as bedding and blanket. He was put 
into a cell already occupied by three Chinese. His initial 
reaction, after being taken unawares in spite of so many 
months of cat-and-mouse play, was defiance. Everything now 

Brainwashing in Action 69 

took on a political slant. His conversations would be misinter- 
preted to involve his friends. Hayes decided not to talk. No, 
they could pound the table and threaten all they wished, let 
them do anything they wanted to him, he would not talk! 
What right did anyone have to ask a man about his personal 
conversations with his friends? No, he told them, he would 
be making no statements. 

They had a very simple and effective way of dealing with 
such an attitude, for it wasn't the first time they had come 
up against it. 

He was blandly informed that as he was a spy, all his 
friends were now regarded as espionage agents, too. The 
report made by the security police alleged conspiracy. If his 
conversations were so mysterious that he didn't dare divulge 
them, they must indeed have been criminal. They would 
have to act accordingly. 

Hayes now realized that his silence put his closest Chinese 
and American friends in grave jeopardy. He knew that the 
new authorities would not exercise patience. Some of the 
former, at least, would be tortured bestially and even done 
to death. Yes, he could adopt the martyr's role himself. He 
wasn't young any more and the prospect of this was not 
especially harrowing to a missionary. But unlike the perse- 
cutors of the past, they made all his friends hostage for him. 
Had he the right to force them into martyrdom, too? That 
was his first agonizing problem. 

He decided, while he still retained some of his mental 
stamina, to change his tactics. He had already been informed 
his friends were being questioned. He had no way of know- 
ing what they were saying. If he evaded questions, he would 
only be involving them more. He decided that as he was 
innocent of any wrong-doing and the whole spy story was 
make-believe, he would follow a policy of strictly telling the 
truth. Yes, he would talk, if that would save those people, 
but he would confound the examiners by never lying. They 
had the names of all the persons with whom he had been in 
contact. Feng and his brother-in-law had done their work 
well. Their names could be cleared only by Hayes, he was 

70 Brainwashing 

told in no uncertain tones. He must recall every conversation 
he had had with each of them. They gave him a form to fol- 
low, ''When, where, what did you say, who else was present, 
and why did you say what you did?" This last point proved 
the most wearying, for it led into such trivial channels. Yet 
the penalty for forgetfulness could be the destruction of any 
one of these persons. 

Hayes felt that as a missionary, he could be more himself 
by speaking the truth; it was the weapon he had been trained 
to use. 

Once this point was settled, the next hurdle appeared very 
minor, indeed. A man obviously was bound by the laws of 
the country where he resides. "You must remember that you 
are in our country, now," the indoctrinator told Hayes. "Our 
laws are what you must obey. We have to learn your laws 
when we go to your country. You should know ours." This 
sounded reasonable and Hayes readily agreed. Of course, un- 
til the closing years of World War II, foreigners in China 
were liable in criminal cases only to the laws of their own 
country. This extraterritoriality was abandoned by the West- 
ern Powers as an expression of trust in the Sun Yat-sen 

China's laws were now Red. Part of the reason Hayes 
accepted the communist position was because his Chinese 
church organization now would also be held responsible for 
his acts. That put him in still another spot. He sensed the 
danger in it but saw no alternative without causing hurt to 
others. He decided to look on this as a challenge, in the 
manner of a warrior agreeing to his opponent's choice of 
weapons. The battle was now joined. 


At the outset, Dr. Hayes came up against the communist 
interpretation of responsibility. "You are responsible for 
everything you said or did," they told him. But what they 
meant was not at all what those words meant to him. He had 
been brought up to consider responsibility within the frame- 

Brainwashing in Action 71 

work of his individual personal life, and of his own conscious 
efforts. His responsibility was like an island, his own alone, 
and so was the responsibility of his neighbor. Where there 
was mutual responsibility, this was conscious and equally 
binding. There were definite limits. But no such limits 
existed in the Red concept. Where no borders existed, how 
could he locate any? His instinctive efforts to do so added 
to his mental fatigue. 

He was told by the communists that he was completely 
responsible for what anyone else did on the basis of what he 
had said or done. As the Reds phrased these things, a man 
either "thought through" to his new position, and adjusted 
his judgments to this new "standpoint," or rejected it and 
held onto his own. The Reds gave him no choice in the mat- 
ter; he was going to play their game whether he wanted to 
or not. 

He thought it out in his cell. "There was plenty of time to 
think," he said ruefully. He decided to take refuge in his 
convictions, which he believed equipped him to fight and 
survive in any company. He decided to trust in the invinci- 
bility of his faith. 

"Under their interpretation of responsibility," he told me, 
"if you are in the army and your officer tells you to shoot 
someone, you must not allude to the officer in your con- 
fession but you must write, *I shot him.' If the officer is ques- 
tioned, he has to accept responsibility, too, and answer, *I 
ordered it.' What this did was to extend responsibility in- 
definitely. Yet this theory of responsibility was basic to the 
whole totalitarian concept of life and its control." 

From three to nine hours a day for forty straight days, 
Hayes was worked on in prison by relays of interrogators and 
indoctrinators. The strain of the long preliminary sparring 
had already rubbed his nerves. Now physical pressures were 
added to the mental. 

Hayes was constantly hungry. A rice diet, with perhaps a 
couple of spoonfuls of vegetables added once a day, was cal- 
culatedly insufficient. He felt drugged from lack of sleep, 
especially in the beginning. Later he was allowed to take his 

72 Brainwashing 

rest at night without being called in for brainwashing. 
"Otherwise I would have been sunk!" he exclaimed to me. 
"Each night I went to America and woke up in China." 
Humiliation was another corrosive influence. "I felt humili- 
ated that my affection for the Chinese people was not getting 
across and that I was being accused of being a spy in a land 
I loved," he said. 

The brainwashing chamber was a downstairs room in the 
prison, about twelve by eighteen feet, where he faced any- 
where from one to seven people. Their functions, like brain- 
washing itself, ranged all over the field, from examiner to 
indoctrinator, prosecutor to judge, inquisitor to torturer. 
Brainwashing victims from East Europe have described simi- 
lar courts to me, with hypnotists and psychiatrists on the staff! 

The court simply informed Hayes he was head spy for all 
Southwest China and demanded he fill in the details for them 
by confessions. "Confess!" was as strange a refrain as the 
raven's "nevermore," only without the poetry. "Confess and 
all will be forgiven," they would say. But plague it all, how 
was a man to confess when he couldn't grasp what he was 
supposed to have done wrong? They gave him peculiar titles, 
such as ''sub rosa American consul for Southwest China," and 
insisted he explain how he "operated." They insisted he re- 
veal his connections with the F.B.I. They provided what they 
called proof and spent ten steady days pounding on this. 
They had a church calendar listing J. Edgar Hoover, the 
F.B.I, chief, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the 
National Presbyterian Church which had sent Hayes abroad. 
They insisted it meant he was an F.B.I, agent in China. When 
he asked for details of these charges, they kept repeating, like 
a mad chorus: "You know what you did wrong, so confess it!" 

They would vary this with a sudden order, "Think!" When 
they released him from the day's grilling, they frequently did 
so with the injunction, "Now go back to your cell and think 
what you did bad. Confess it!" They had a trick of telling 
him to think about some specific point but ignoring it next 
day, going on to some other will-o'-the-wisp. 

They gave him thinking assignments on which he had to 

Brainwashing in Action 73 

write or report. The tension of daily going through these 
same points was like a drill piercing his mind, "Worse than 
physical suffering," Hayes told me. Each day he was called 
and each day the accusation was gone over in minute detail, 
from every conceivable angle. "I'd rather be whipped than 
have this questioning continue," Hayes cried out to them 
one day. 

Questioning was rarely ordinary questioning. The correct 
term for it would be "suggestive interrogation," with the 
desired answers implied in the wording. The brainwashers 
alternated this with a barrage of denunciation and accusation 
to make their victim cringe. Then they would make their 
statement in question form and expect Hayes to agree to it. 
When the accused or the witness failed to agree, it took on 
the appearance of defiance of the court. 

This type of questioning went on for a month without 
Hayes appearing to give way, although he felt thoroughly 
fatigued all the time now, as if drugged. "If I could only 
have eaten one square meal!" he said to me. "If I could only 
have had one day's break!" 

He still had enough clarity left to refuse an offer which in 
Korea had much to do with edging men into treasonable 
acts. A "nice Chinese" came to him and said he knew that 
in America a defendant had a lawyer to help him. "We don't 
allow that here, but I would be very willing to assist you, so 
you can have the same privileges as at home," he told him. 
Hayes's China background instinctively put him on guard. 
He thanked the man for his "services" but rejected the offer. 
This man he later found out was the top prosecutor! He 
would have helped Hayes like the two renegades, Alan Win- 
nington and Wilbur Burchett, "helped" p.o.w.'s in Korea. 

Hayes had to be on his guard all the time. He had to watch 
out against specious arguments which led to pro-communist 
conclusions. He developed a counter-technique. The indoc- 
trinator would begin with ideals on which they could mutu- 
ally agree. By deduction, he would go on from there to try 
to inveigle Hayes into a false conclusion. Hayes accepted the 
idea and watched for the opening in the Red argument, when 

74 Brainwashing 

he would suggest another line of thought. This frequently 
nonplussed the court. Hayes was able to get away with this 
because it was not a defiant action. "My objective was not to 
anger the judge or win the argument but to win the man," 
he said. Hayes made it even more difficult for them to refute 
him by nailing down his replies with a Chinese proverb. This 
is an old trick in China. He felt he was in a Chinese market, 
where the buyer traditionally wrestles with the merchant over 
prices. "The difference now," Hayes said, "was that we 
wrestled over the truth." 

They tried to destroy his lines of defense, saying, "Forget 
about the white wall; concentrate on the black dots. We know 
all about the white wall." They tried to get him to concen- 
trate only on his purported political sins. 

Hayes was given plenty of homework to do in his cell. 
They gave him some of Mao's books and urged him to write 
any questions that might arise as he studied them. Hayes 
filled pages with questions that were never answered — neither 
did they give him any more such dialectical literature. They 
had him write a long autobiography, summaries of long past 
conversations and, as he was known as a liberal, a paper on 
the third-party movement. They pressed him for a self-criti- 
cism, making it obvious they sought criticism of missionaries 
as "tools of the State Department." He got around this by 
criticizing the mission organizations where they fell short of 
their own ideals, shifting the blame to himself under their 
own theory of responsibility. This enabled him to write six- 
teen pages of Christian doctrine, with a different point 
stressed in each paragraph. He would explain each point, 
then end up with a personal confession of his failure to live 
up to it. Red doctrine inferentially was torn to shreds. This 
had a laudable end but nonetheless contributed to wearying 
him down. 

They were constantly putting stress on some very inconse- 
quential detail and harping on it interminably, jumping 
from one detail to another with dreamlike inconsistency un- 
til the whole matter would be abruptly dropped and some- 
thing else, equally irrelevant, leaped upon. One time the 

Brainwashing in Action 75 

inquisitor insisted he name the shops around the market 
place. Hayes thought hard and named each store. The insane 
exchange then went like this: 

"Did you say there were two electric shops?" 


"Did you buy from both shops?" 


"Which shop did you buy from?" 

"The second." 

The inquisitor's voice became sharp. "Why did you buy 
at that shop and not at the other?" 

"Why ... eh ... I don't know." 

"There must be a reason. Think now and be frank I Why 
did you buy at that particular shop and not at the other one?" 

This began to have implications! The brainwasher looked 
hard at him. "I just liked the looks of the place more, I sup- 
pose," Hayes said hesitatingly. "The store looked sort of 
friendly. Yes, it looked friendly." Then, to relieve the tense- 
ness that had suddenly developed, he added, "I almost always 
try to make friends of people I buy from." 

"Oh!" exclaimed the judge. "So that was it! Did the shop- 
keeper smile when you bought from him?" 

"Smile . . . ah . . . smile? Why, yes, he smiled." 

''WHY did he smile?" 

"Why? . . . Why did he smile? I don't know why he smiled. 
He just smiled because . . . well . . ." 

Hayes, his body and mind thoroughly tired out, remembers 
thinking to himself, "That's a fool question," but he had to 
put on a serious mien, otherwise he would have been accused 
of showing "contempt for the court," resulting in much 
trouble; it was easier to take it all seriously. 

Taking it seriously because its consequences could be very 
serious, although at the same time it was silly, had him upset. 
The brainwasher could see it. Hayes looked very puzzled 
over that final question of theirs. That was the moment the 
indoctrinator selected to adjourn the court and quickly stalk 
out, leaving Hayes sitting, still puzzled. 

Hayes had gone through many, many such trivial interro- 

76 Brainwashing 

gations, and they hadn't flustered him. But the cumulative 
effect was achieving the Reds's purpose at last. "Now I know 
that their aim was to becloud my clarity of mind," Hayes 
told me. 

"They were chiseling away at my memory. Yet I could still 
look back and tell them exactly what I had said or done, and 
was equally positive on what I hadn't. The struggle settled 
now on one main point. The Reds insisted that the American 
who used to visit me, and whom they had already put into 
prison, had a transmitting radio set which he used for send- 
ing my messages. I had successfully refuted this. In order to 
do so, I had summoned every ounce of my retentive powers. 
This uninterrupted use of my memory every moment even 
made my mind clearer. That was very strange. The court 
noticed it, complimenting me for a 'dependable memory.' 
They encouraged me to keep concentrating." 

Now Hayes knows why! They knew that he was critically 
overstraining his brain and that it couldn't indefinitely stand 
such unnatural pressure. 

Hayes went back to his cell, thinking . . . thinking . . . 
thinking. "You got into its swing and couldn't climb out. 
Your cellmates were waiting to call you to order if you were 
just idling. They gained merit that way, at least they escaped 
some punishment, for each was responsible for everyone else 
in the cell." Inwardly, as Hayes referred to this, I shuddered. 
The Reds had thought of everything, it seemed, to make 
each man the hostage of his comrade, to set each man spying 
on the other, on pain of immediate heavy punishment if any 
evaded this Red "responsibility." Agents provocateurs were 
slipped into the cells to test the occupants. 

"Why should I suffer this way?" Hayes asked himself. 
"Here you've made a clear and frank confession of all you've 
done against the regime. You've told them the whole truth. 
You can't do any more than that. You've brought matters to 
a head. They'll have to do something definite now, kill you 
or free you! Your conscience is clear. Now it's entirely up to 
them. Stop worrying!" 

Hayes told me that as soon as he had spoken this way to 

Brainwashing in Action 77 

himself, a change came over him. That puzzled spell that had 
enveloped him in the courtroom dropped off. He felt re- 
laxed. This whole incident — the foolish questioning about 
the shopkeeper and why he smiled — was forgotten and he 
felt relaxed and slightly exhilarated. How long it had been 
since he was last relaxed! He felt good now. He felt airy. Dr. 
Hayes didn't know it, but under the strain he had become 
light-headed, too. 
Then it happened! 


Back in his cell, stretched out in his usual corner, despite 
the brilliant overhead lighting that was on day and night. 
Dr. Hayes breathed deeply of this curious new feeling of 
relaxation that coursed through him. Now that he had 
cleansed the slate, he had no further concern over what the 
morrow might bring. That was the Red worry now! 

He had successfully maintained his guard every wakeful 
second since that first day when the new college head, a Com- 
munist Party official picked by the Reds, told him to go home 
and consider himself under house arrest. How long ago that 
seemed! He was still on the alert against any outside trickery. 
He recognized full well that there was a devilish consistency 
and persistence about the Reds. 

That recent scene in the brainwashing chamber where they 
had got him all wound up and bewildered over nothing at 
all and then, having reached that stage, abruptly got up and 
left, seemed something far remote. 

Actually, for the first time, Hayes left his guard down, 
inside himself rather than outside. That was even more 
dangerous, although he had no reason to know it. The mind 
can play tricks itself as well as be twisted out of focus by 
the Commies. He hadn't anticipated that. 

Lying in his cell, light-hearted and light-headed, as if a 
tremendous weight had suddenly gone from him, he couldn't 
be expected to know that there was something peculiar about 

78 Brainwashing 

this. If he had, he might have kept his guard up inside him- 

In his mind, comfortably void now, placidly comfortable, 
a stab came from somewhere within him, A lightning stab of 
memory, all the more brilliant because he felt so airy. The 
release of strain let go an unknown energy that hit him like 
a bolt of lightning. The scene came back to him as if it had 
happened that same day. How could he have forgotten it? 
He saw it all now in his mind's eye, all over again, exactly 
as it had happened. Indeed, how could he have forgotten! 
The time, that is, when his friend came to him in his house 
while he still was only under detention and they chatted and 
this man remarked in a worried way, "By jove, I better get 
rid of that transmitter!" He heard the words distinctly. 

Hayes remembered, too, how this remark had astonished 
him, and all he could answer at the time was, "Oh yes, you 
better had." Even his own casual intonation returned. 

He remembered it all very clearly — only it never trans- 
pired. We discussed the phenomenon at great length this 
time in Singapore. 

Under the uninterrupted demands made upon his mind 
in that grotesque environment, it appeared to me that Hayes 
had attained a clarity very much like that of a hypnotist's sub- 
ject, who can recreate from deep within his subconscious 
some exact memory of a long past incident which he had 
believed gone entirely from him. This relaxed feeling, too, 
was something that subjects of hypnotism experience after 
they have come out from under the trance. I asked Hayes 
whether he had suspected any hypnotism in the treatment 
given him in prison. He was quite sure he saw no evidence 
of it and did not believe it was used — at least not in the form 
customarily known. Whether the effect of it could be dupli- 
cated in some long-drawn-out torture such as in brainwash- 
ing was another matter entirely. He just couldn't say. 

What he did say was: "Under that persistent striving to 
remember every forgotten detail, the fog had been receding 
from the scene as far as all matters of fact were concerned. 
But regarding the transmitting radio, which had never ex- 

Brainwashing in Action 79 

isted and on which they were continually harping, there was 
a curious confusion between fact and fancy." 

The brainwasher had refused to accept Hayes's amazingly 
clear memory on this point. Until that evening, he had 
stanchly adhered to his denial of it. But he had not been 
able to persuade his inquisitors to leave the subject alone. 
They kept tormenting him to think some more about it, to 
focus on it, to try to recall the truth. They worried and 
teased him with their perpetual insistence that he was not 
telling the truth, like a cat worries a mouse. They had an 
irritating habit of ignoring his flat denial and asking some 
question such as, "What was the transmitter's color?" as if 
he hadn't been telling them all along there was no trans- 
mitter. If only he had been allowed to laugh over it, but that 
would have been contempt and hostility. He forced himself 
by conscious effort to retain a firm grasp on that whole period 
of his American friend's visits to his home. 

He had succeeded until this night, until after that strange 
scene in the brainwashing chamber that left him puzzled and 
confused over something extremely inconsequential. 

Now, so soon after that, he was remembering very vividly 
a scene when his friend had referred to the radio machine. 
He sure had something critical with which to tussle now! 
The old worries, the chronic uncertainties, that he had been 
so sure were lifted off his back by his integrity — all returned 
to him now, much heavier than before. 

"When the hallucination came," Hayes said, "I was faced 
with the ghastly choice of telling the whole truth, with its 
untoward consequence for this other man, or giving up my 
own compass — the stubborn attachment to truth that had 
kept me going. I was also deeply concerned over the effect 
it would have on my Chinese church. I took recourse in the 
communist version of responsibility, which would enable me 
honestly — inside that framework — to take the whole burden 
to myself, relieving my American colleague of any disastrous 
result of his continued denial, because I was sure his actions 
would be recognized as based on loyalty to me." 

Fretting in the cell corner, he made up his mind to remove 

8o Brainwashing 

that last impediment to a clean slate and in that way regain 
the exquisite joy of the blissful, relaxed state he had experi- 
enced for such a short time. He desperately clung to his early 
resolution. With faith, it would see him through somehow. 
He understood that he probably would be given a ten-year 
prison sentence for the crime he was confessing. Well, that 
was only two years longer than his present mission contract 
for work in China! The work wouldn't be what he had an- 
ticipated, but he would trust in his Faith that its purpose 
would be achieved somehow better that way if this was how 
it had to be. 

He called for the guard and asked for paper. So certain was 
he of himself now that when it came, he went at once to 
America in his sleep, as was his habit, and woke up in the 
morning ready to begin the full confession of this incident, 
which was now so crystal clear. He didn't dare tell his cell- 
mates what he was writing. "I was lucky they didn't ask," he 
said. He feared they might put him off the track, making 
him lose some of this precise recollection that had finally 
come to him. He mustn't allow for any distraction. 

I could see some of the old strain returning in Hayes as 
he repeated this now painful procedure of delving into the 
past, this time for the purposes of record. The facts had to 
become known! Any deliberate effort to lean on his memory 
was now a strain. He had always preached extemporaneously, 
depending on his memory. Each time he spoke now, even in 
some new locality, he drafted a sermon anew because it was 
less of a task than remembering one he had delivered previ- 
ously. His memory was still very sensitive. 

He worked for three days on that new confession. His re- 
ward came the morning after its completion, when he woke 
up fresh for the first time in his prison experience. He had 
awakened from a drugged sort of sleep. 

He was summoned to the courtroom that evening. The 
whole panel was waiting for him. They verified the details 
in his confession, going through the items carefully one by 
one. His memory was sure. 

A few days later, the examiner said he wished Hayes to 

Brainwashing in Action 81 

identify some of the messages he had sent over the trans- 
mitting radio. Hayes saw a small pile of them on the desk, 
probably twenty to thirty. The interrogator picked up one 
and read it. "Did you send this?" he asked. 

"No," Hayes said. "That's not mine." 

No nasty pressure this time! The examiner patiently put 
it back and took another seemingly at random and read this, 
too. This routine went on for some time. Hayes would have 
liked to have looked at the messages himself, but the in- 
doctrinator held them at arm's length, but close enough for 
Hayes to recognize his friend's handwriting. 

The first three messages were purely military. Such data 
never came his way; it was too far-fetched for his interests. 
He was able to deny these at once, although the dismal 
thought came to him, "They still must think I'm some sort 
of a head spy to have anything to do with that kind of infor- 

Unperturbed by Hayes's denials, the indoctrinator picked 
up still another message and read from it. This one was about 
the structure of the youth organization. One phrase in it, 
"youth very well organized," rang a bell in Hayes's poor 

"Did you send that message?" the inquisitor asked quietly. 
The roughhouse tones used against him before his final, all- 
inclusive confession were absent now. Hayes appreciated this 
though tfulness. They were doing nothing to upset him! 

Hayes remembers how startled he was by that message 
when he heard that phrase in it. He even recalls the reserved 
tone of voice in which he replied, saying only, "Yes, I recog- 
nize that message." 

At once the inquisitor brushed all the others aside and 
exclaimed with finality, "Yes, that's the wire you sent. The 
others aren't yours." 

Sitting in that narrow room, with all the memories it had 
engraved on him, Hayes distinctly remembered the words in 
that message. Of course he had given that message to his 
friend. He had no doubt of it. Wasn't it in his handwriting? 

"I now saw myself responsible for a transmitting radio and 

82 Brainwashing 

consequently for a whole series of telegrams sent over it," 
Hayes told me. 

"Was there any radio? Were there any messages?" I asked 

He shook his head. "No," he said. "None of any of that 
existed except in my tired head. The brainwashers, of course, 
knew it was all a fake. Even the handwriting was forged. 
They must have worked very hard the preceding week or two 
on that pile of messages, duplicating the penmanship and 
figuring out the wording. They had no problem in quoting 
me exactly in matters that were really of common knowledge. 
The people whom they questioned about me had remem- 
bered what I had said." 

If Hayes had only been more himself, he would have been 
able to see through the Red sleight-of-hand in a flash. In 
other times, his penetrating brain had been able to quickly 
see through intricate parlor tricks by entertaining magicians. 
This Red piece of trickery would have appeared far more 
transparent than any of those tricks if his mind had been 
fairly normal. After three-quarters of a year of uninterrupted, 
intensive drilling away at his mind, he was in no shape to 
reason things out. 

He had sat by the hour and chatted with his friend about 
everything of any significance that was happening around 
them. Of course they had talked about the role that the Reds 
had given to the youth. Of course they had discussed the 
youth groups being organized by the political commissars. 
Hayes must have used the very words "youth very well or- 
ganized" which sparked off this new clear-cut recollection. He 
probably used them several times. That was a world of dif- 
ference from making a telegraphic message out of them. Of 
course there had been no such thing. 

The message would have been silly, for the Reds organized 
youth groups wherever they went; it was standard procedure. 
What possible use could such information be to anyone any- 
where? None of this logical reasoning could go through 
Hayes's head at that time. He had never anticipated the 
indoctrinator quoting his own conversations this way. He 

Brainwashing in Action 83 

went back to his cell befuddled, letting the acceptance of this 
new guilt sink into his subconscious. 

Actually, the Reds had used no great skill, had resorted to 
no original thinking, to bring this hallucination about. They 
had only been devilishly persistent, inhumanly patient. 


Dr. Hayes was warned by prisonmates that when a man, 
out of desperation or hopelessness, said to his indoctrinator, 
"All right then, go ahead and shoot me," the Reds considered 
this relieved them of responsibility and were likely to go 
ahead and carry out his wishes. Hayes knew of this happening 
in Kweiyang prison while he was there. 

Until his hallucination, except for those few early days of 
defiance, he had been careful not to give the Reds an excuse 
to lower the boom on him. The combat of minds was still 
being fought. But in his hallucination, believing that he had 
told the whole truth without them being able to capture his 
mind, and that there was nothing more he could say, he 
became wholly unconcerned over what the Reds would do 
to him. 

In this moment which had all the exterior marks of defeat 
for him, Hayes felt positive that he had won the fight. He 
just did not care what would happen to him physically from 
then on. He was sure they had failed to win his spirit, and 
this was the fort he had been defending all along. From there 
he made his sallies. The Red objective was to "convert" him, 
to indoctrinate him into their ideology, actually to win his 
loyalty, on the firm conviction that environment, if the pres- 
sure is sufficient, will not only break a man but remake him. 

Although he had abandoned his natural defense works — 
his own normal approach to logic — for the offensive ad- 
vantage that went with accepting theirs, infiltrating their 
positions, he was now content, certain that their siege of his 
mind had failed. Indeed, whatever tolerance he had had for 
communism when the Reds first arrested him had now been 
eliminated by the demonstration they had given that their 

84 Brainwashing 

smiles and their reforms were only tactics — means to the 
political ends of totalitarian domination. 

The next session was decisive, when the brainwasher went 
back to the spy charges reinforced by Hayes's admission of 
responsibility for the telegrams. He had also accepted com- 
plete responsibility for having given advice on how to dispose 
of the radio transmitter and of providing the information 
for the telegrams. Intent was extraneous under Red law. By 
accepting full blame himself, Hayes hoped to relieve his 
friend of it. 

The brainwasher went onto a new tack. "We find that you 
are not an American spy but an international spy," he ex- 
claimed, leaving Hayes to puzzle that one out. "You have 
the best espionage system we've come across yet. Friends? 

Then, after letting this news sink in, he asked, "What 
countries have you been in?" 

Hayes carefully listed the countries, knowing that exacti- 
tude was required in this sort of interrogation, which was 
meant as a trap rather than as just questioning. 

The brainwasher listened carefully. He had evidently 
memorized every facet of information on the case. When 
Hayes ended, he asked simply, "Is that all?" 

"Yes," Hayes said. 

"You're a liar!" he roared. "You haven't listed all the 
countries you've been in." 

Hayes went over the list again very carefully. Doing so, he 
recalled staying a few days once in Sumatra. He had for- 
gotten to mention it. He put it in this time. 

"Is that all?" 


Again: "You're a liar!" Hayes thought carefully. No, he 
had given them the complete list. Then, instead of going 
back over all of it again, as was the required routine in such 
circumstances, never leaving a subject until the interrogator 
was satisfied or changed it himself, Hayes exclaimed, "All 
right then, go ahead and shoot me!" 

This time it was the brainwasher who was stunned and 

Brainwashing in Action 85 

puzzled. "He gave me a curious look," Hayes said. "I thought 
he was going to order me shot. I only realized afterwards that 
this was confusion in him. I turned the tables on him at the 
moment he was most certain of his prey. 

"He didn't order me shot. In the interval, while the in- 
doctrinator was figuring out his next move, I said: 

" *If you can't believe what you can check at any port of 
entry, how are you going to believe what is in my heart?' " 

This was another of those small verbal shots which deal 
such major blows in mind warfare. Trivial scenes come back 
to a man years later, from his boyhood perhaps, and prove 
to have had a determining impact on the whole direction of 
his thinking. So it is in the whole realm of attitudes. Hayes's 
challenge to them to go ahead and shoot him and be over 
with it was not the decisive point, as developments showed, 
but the latter statement that came from the depths of his 
feelings, out of his integrity. 

The brainwasher's first reaction was to rise from his chair 
and walk from the table. He said an amazing thing then. "We 
are all beginning to think that!" 

Hayes, not grasping it, replied, "Really!" in a bit of an 
angry tone, then asked, "Think what?" Instinctively, he was 
driving home his advantage. 

For reply the brainwasher broke into a loud laugh, a hor- 
rible guffaw. Hayes, not knowing what to make of this, felt 

"You didn't put China in your list," the indoctrinator 
turned to him and said. 

"I caught what was in his mind at once," Hayes told me, 
"and he knew it! They couldn't accuse me of being a spy 
now, for it was obvious to them that I had not listed China 
because I considered it almost my own country and could 
not think of myself as a visitor to it." 

Whether this was so or not, the brainwasher was visibly 
nonplussed by the turn events had taken, and the spy charges 
obviously had not served them as fully as they had hoped. He 
looked at Hayes again curiously, without smiling, and only 
said, "Go to your cell!" Every insight that Hayes possesser 

86 Brainwashing 

into the Chinese mind and his feeling for human nature con- 
vince him, he said to me, that the brainwasher couldn't take 
any more. Working for an ideology that did violence to the 
true character of human beings, certainly of the Chinese, he 
had reached the end of his tether. He exposed himself, for 
all his thick veneer of communism, as vulnerable! 

Others, too, have told me equally revealing experiences 
of momentous significance. Students from the Communist 
Party's own universities have told me of Party functionaries, 
men who had participated in purge trials and indoctrination 
campaigns, themselves being sent back for a brainwashing. 
The Chinese communist prisoners of war I met who had re- 
fused to return to the Reds included a startling proportion 
of Party members, some of whom fit into this category. That 
is why the purge must be permanent in any Red society! 

His release — or execution — was now only a matter of for- 
mality, Hayes was sure. He was released on September 20, 
1952, and put across the border at Hong Kong exactly two 
weeks later. 

Sitting back on a rattan chair in Singapore, he analyzed his 
little battle in the brain warfare that was being waged around 
the world. "The more I think of it," he said to me, "the surer 
I am that the mind is influenced to a great extent by its 
environment and training, but that the really decisive, con- 
trolling factor is the spirit. You can't crack that if it is sound." 

I thought back over the cases I knew of the many brain- 
washed in the p.o.w. camps in Korea, those who had broken 
and those who hadn't. Without doubt, this additional force 
— ^spirit — had been the most important weapon for those who 
had successfully resisted. For the lack of it, others had miser- 
ably broken. 

Hayes called this a "crusading spirit" and sometimes a 
"sense of mission." It was inextricably bound up with his 
Faith. He agreed that other elements were essential for men- 
tal stamina, too, and could see a man through to victory. But 
in a situation when the odds were piled highest against a 
person, his experience had proven for him that the fort which 
can hold out longest was a man's spirit. If he had it, he 

Brainwashing in Action 87 

possessed the strongest possible weapon. "One phrase kept 
ringing in my ears all my time in prison," Hayes said. "It was, 
'taking captivity captive.' In that spirit, I determined to go 
on the offensive, not remain on the defensive. I was going to 
win the enemy!" This win-the-enemy idea became an obses- 
sion to him. 

He went on: "The mind, the tool of the spirit, is remark- 
able! There was my mind, sadly damaged. Somehow, with 
my mind damaged, I was still able to unsettle the court." 

He discussed this with medical men in America. A San 
Francisco doctor told him, "Your mind gave way when you 
had your hallucination. That is what saved you. You were 
still intact, only your mind had cracked. The Reds couldn't 
do any more to you. The indoctrinator gave you the curious 
look when he saw that. He realized then they had not got 
you — that your spirit had escaped them." 

This is what made the brainwasher feel beaten. 

This was a medical man's analysis, uninfluenced by ele- 
ments outside his field, certainly uninfluenced by any mis- 
sionary thought. Yet on this field of battle of the mind, these 
two men saw eye to eye. 

"The spirit never went into real action for me until that 
last, critical skirmish," Hayes said. "When the turn came, I 
was able to deliver the decisive blows. This was after my 
hallucination, when I found in myself the opportunity to be 
expendable for the lives of others, and with perfect com- 
posure I was able to say, 'All right then, go ahead and shoot 
me.' At that moment, I surely saved my life, probably liter- 
ally, certainly all that gave it meaning." 

With all the rest of his weapons knocked from his grasp, 
his crusading spirit held him up. He went into that last fray 
not concerned with defense but with offense — "to win the 
enemy." Whether he did so or not is anybody's guess. But 
he obviously rattled the foe and saved himself. 

During this conversation, Hayes had let slip a remark of 
the utmost significance. "I knew I wasn't a spy but that I was 
framed by their laws," he said. I now reminded him of it. 

"You've been telling me about your hallucination," I said. 

88 Brainwashing 

"You were convinced your false memory was the real thing. 
Did you have any suspicion it was a hallucination before 
your release?" 

"Exactly!" he replied at once. "I believed I had had a 
hallucination and I believed I hadn't." 

He went on to explain that while he did not doubt the 
hallucination, at the same time, he also had this other belief 
in the back of his mind. 

Perhaps this was a contradiction, but if so he hadn't noticed 
it. The brain apparently does not always follow the rules set 
down for it in books of logic. 

"Is that what psychiatrists call ambivalence, the division 
of the brain into separate compartments?" I asked. 

"I suppose so," he said, smiling. 

If truth can linger in the mind in spite of the strongest 
hallucinations, and the evidence I have accumulated indi- 
cates it can, the reason is clear why the Reds cannot be sure 
of even their completest victories, their Mindszentys. They 
never capture their minds completely! 



The Korean Miracle 

In the prisoner-of-war camps in North Korea, the dark- 
skinned American was put on his mettle racially because the 
communists insisted on appealing to him as a Negro. The 
color of his skin was constantly emphasized as his all-impor- 
tant characteristic. He was pitted against his country, sym- 
bolized in the person of the white man. Every humiliation, 
every indignation, every betrayal of the Bill of Rights was 
stressed to him by the Red indoctrinators. But they failed 
miserably in their efforts to impress him and to gain the great 
propaganda victory on which they had counted to win the 
minds of the non-white peoples of the world. 

I heard rumors about this Red propaganda setback almost 
as soon as the first prisoners began to be exchanged. The stage 
was set for the communists to drop their usual political 
bombshell. Editors all over the world focused on the lonely 
spot called Panmunjom, where "Little Switch" was taking 
place that cold April day in 1953. These first returnees were 
supposed to be only the very ill. The Reds made it a propa- 
ganda show, carefully selecting prisoners from as many dif- 
ferent parts of America as possible. As was to be expected, 
the first man out was a Negro. Six out of the first group of 
sixteen released were Negroes, and eight out of the second 
batch of thirty-five. The Red emphasis was unmistakable. 

The bulk of the prisoners were exchanged in "Big Switch," 
which took place in chilly August and September of that 
year, yet little was heard either time to give more than token 
satisfaction to the Red racist propagandists. Out of the thou- 


go Brainwashing 

sands of Negroes taken prisoner, only three were among the 
twenty-three cowed and mentally upset lads who said they 
did not want to return home to America. 

The communists had started publicizing pro-Red state- 
ments by dark-skinned p.o.w.'s soon after the first were cap- 
tured. They evidently expected these to grow into a crescendo 
that would reverberate throughout Asia and Africa. They 
were positive that the Negroes caught in the Korean fighting 
would be putty in their hands. Believing their own propa- 
ganda, they had every confidence that this would be the case. 
Instead, the blare that was started up in the beginning faded 
away into a few lone squeaks. I had paid little attention to 
this at the time because so much else was happening. 

I thought of these developments one day when a news- 
paperman just back from the Korean front remarked that the 
communists were obviously disappointed over the failure of 
their efforts to exploit the American Negro. "How did the 
colored man come out in comparison with the whites?" I 

'Tine," he replied right off. "Some say he came out better, 
proportionately speaking." 

Statistics were unavailable, of course, but others who made 
it their business to keep their ears tuned to what was going 
on in the p.o.w. camps told me the same thing. I did some 
investigating on my own, and what I discovered was incon- 
trovertible. The Reds had dismally failed in their attempts 
to squeeze racist propaganda out of their colored captives. 
Our boys just weren't buying any of that stuff! Talking to 
repatriated Negroes, I found that they had seen through the 
enemy game right from the start — they could detect racist 
cheese by its smell no matter how it was camouflaged. 

The communists exposed their own biased thinking soon 
after the p.o.w. enclosures were set up by segregating the 
non-whites as firmly as the most rabid anti-Negro would 
desire. "What for you putting us by ourselves this way?" a 
colored American told me he asked them. 

"You're being sent to get higher education," was the cyni- 
cal reply. 

The Negro as P.O.W. 91 

"Yeah man, I see!" this man exclaimed. He saw, all right — 
he and his buddies saw clearly enough. Those who had any 
doubt about it were later convinced by people such as the 
communist doctor in a Chinese hospital. 

He thought it great fun, when he came across a Negro pa- 
tient, to look baffled and say, "Tell me, are you really black, 
or is your face just dirty?" This bit of crass humor was con- 
sidered a great joke by the Red Chinese hospital attendants, 
but it rapidly became known throughout the Negro com- 
pound. The effect can be imagined. 

I made a point of locating returned colored prisoners so 
as to get their own feelings on what had transpired. What I 
learned from them made me very proud of the human race. 
None of these men, any more than any others in the U.N. 
forces, had received even a hint of what they were coming 
up against when they were sent into battle. They had not 
been warned about this new communist trickery. Of course 
the Reds had every reason to anticipate easy propaganda 
pickings among their captives, particularly those, such as the 
Negroes, who had any cause to resent their treatment as a 

Yet the Negroes refused to fall for this Red bait. Evidence 
of the enemy's hypocrisy was not the main reason, I found 
out. The colored people did not expect others to be angels. 
The real reason was twofold. First, the Negroes had them 
selves witnessed too much of the dreadfulness of race bias to 
want to have any part of it, particularly a communist varia^ 
tion. Second, when the chips were down, what seemed to be 
more decisive, the Negro realized the United States was his 
country and he wasn't going to do anything to hurt it. His 
attitude came to the surface under Red prodding; it wasn't 
so much a case of his belonging to America as America be- 
longing to him, and only a fool damages what is his. 

What soon became evident to me was that the U.S. had a 
great deal to learn from its Negro citizens faced by adversity 
in the p.o.w. camps. The colored man was stripped down to 
his naked character. This was hurled into the hottest crucible 
that sly, subtle minds could devise, the tortures of hell 

92 Brainwashing 

brought to earth. He came out of this test whole and with 
plenty to teach others. The Negro retained a far greater 
capacity than the white man to keep his mind focused on 
fundamentals. He was far more difficult to lure off the track 
than his white brethren. The stories of what took place in 
the Korean p.o.w. camps substantiate this generalization. 

He had an additional quality that stood him in great stead 
in this supreme emergency. This quality is exemplified in 
Negro songs generally. They are without bitterness and with- 
out hate. I know no other people in the world of whom this 
can be said. Bitterness and hate are negative reactions, and 
sour a man. They contain a certain drive potential, but they 
can run away with a man and be used against him. In the 
long pull, as in the p.o.w. camps, the prisoner's primary ob- 
jective was to protect his own faculties. He had to keep his 
hope up. When this was lost, so was the mind. That was why 
the Reds kept chiseling away every moment at his hope. He 
had to be totally deprived of it so he would have nowhere 
to turn but to the Reds. A people to whom hope — optimism 
— is second nature, is the toughest nut of all to crack. 

The Negro had resources for survival to which he turned 
when most desperate. These were usually simple in nature, 
down to bedrock, not involved in sophistry. There was the 
case of a young colored boy stripped and hung head-first from 
the rafters in an effort to make him accede to Red demands. 
His body was then beaten in its most sensitive parts. 

This failed to crack him. "How could he continue resist- 
ing?" I asked, for the pain must have been excruciating. 
Buddies of his quoted his own explanation. ''When the pain 
got real bad, I thought of religion, and then it didn't hurt 
any more," he had said. 

This was all he remembered, for he lost consciousness. 
Nature came to his rescue when the torture became unbear- 
able. In the critical moment or two between the time when 
he might have been forced to agree to the Red demands and 
the surcease that unconsciousness gave him, the religion he 
had been taught as a boy monopolized his mind, crowding 
out everything else. 

The Negro as P.O. W. 93 

Perhaps as revealing as any other aspect of the Negro's 
heroic resistance to brainwashing was that he came out of 
camp without any idea that he had been doing anything 
special. He had just been himself. 

Simple Things 

The name of Roosevelt Lunn, of Baltimore, was given to 
me as that of a Negro p.o.w. who could tell me a lot about 
what kept a man going under adversity. People knew the 
neighborhood where he lived but not the house number, and 
it took a lot of doorbell ringing to locate him. Finally, in 
desperation, I stopped a man crossing the street and asked 
him if he had ever heard of a returned p.o.w. named Roose- 
velt Lunn. 

"Sure I have," he replied. "I'm Roosevelt Lunn." 

He took me to the home of relatives and we sat in the 
parlor. He was a tall, earnest man who had been a prisoner 
for thirty months. He was captured after an all-night fight 
when his detachment had run out of ammunition and came 
up against a roadblock. He tried to make it into the moun- 
tains but was shot in the hand. His captors marched him back 
downhill, making him slide on the snow, and it froze his 

He saw buddies to the left and right being clubbed and 
murdered as the Reds marched them to the rear. "That's 
when I got my determination I was going to live," he said. 
"When I saw other guys being beaten up and killed for 
stumbling, I said to myself, 'If it's God's will, I'm going 
home.' I kept this faith all the time." 

They marched him for a couple of months, stopping only 
a few hours during the day to sleep. Then they stayed put for 
two or three weeks before marching again, all night and 
every night, and part of the day. They started out with 700 
men. Two hundred made it. The other 500 were left behind 
as frozen corpses. 

"I never had the feeling I wouldn't make it, as I always 

94 Brainwashing 

had that faith with me," Lunn said. "When I began getting 
a little doubtful at times, I quickly forced it out of my mind. 
I wouldn't let anything get the best of me." 

Men died fast in his first camp. "Lice ate us up, fever 
burned us up," Lunn said. "They fed us half-rotten food, and 
after a while said to us, 'Would you like to eat well? Would 
you like good medical care?' Who wouldn't? They improved 
the chow a little, and let us play some basketball and base- 
ball. They had a lot of sports equipment sent in and took 
photographs of us using them. 

"Then they started talking to us, chummy like. Right off, 
they asked us why we were fighting. 'Because we're Ameri- 
cans,' we said. 

" Tour color is different, so you have no reason to fight 
us,' they replied. 

" 'We are Americans and we believe in democracy,' we 

"Then they brought us newspaper clippings about Ameri- 
can Negroes badly treated in the U.S. 'What's happened, has 
happened,' we'd answer. 'We're not worrying about the past. 
We're looking forward to a better way of life.' 

"They tried to wear us down with stories about how all 
Americans were supposed to be first-class citizens, while we 
were treated like second-class citizens. We answered back 
with proof that our position was getting better fast, and that 
there was a wonderful future ahead for both us and the 
whites. It was tug-of-war between their minds and ours. 

"They put their educated blokes working on us, who had 
studied in mission schools and colleges, some in the U.S. All 
spoke English. Some spoke it fine. They brought us commu- 
nist papers and gave us lectures. They called us out by groups 
and said they wanted our opinions. What did we think of 
their peace drive? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all were at 
peace and everybody could go home? What would we sug- 
gest? Most guys just gave no opinion. Some did, and then 
the Reds had something to start on. They worked on those 
guys to break them down and to pick the men they wanted 
from among them. 

The Negro as P.O.W. 95 

"The best defense was to have no opinion about anything. 
You would say one thing out of place and they'd start mess- 
ing with you right off. You had it bad from then on. 

"The Reds were on the lookout for any fellow who showed 
signs of weakening. He was called to headquarters and they'd 
strike up a conversation. They'd ask some more of his opin- 
ions, this time on how the others liked it in camp, how we 
were acting, thinking, talking. They wanted to know every- 
thing. When this fellow came back to us, he'd be scared and 
shaky, but he'd let us know everything that happened. 

"This was when we had to act, right at the start. We'd have 
a little get-together, a little conference. We'd tell him how 
anything he said, out of his mouth, would hurt any of us 
and him, too. We used a lot of proverbs in talking to him, 
because they're simple and plain. 'A man's most dangerous 
weapon is his tongue,' we'd say. 'Silence is golden,' we'd say, 
explaining how it could keep a man out of trouble. We 
wouldn't preach too much at him, just enough. Then we'd 
change our tack, and this was the important part. 

"We'd go all the way back home with him. We'd bring 
back his home life. We'd do it naturally, and show a sincere 
interest. We could do this because we were all in the same 
boat. Someone among us was sure to have lived his kind of 
life, maybe even been his neighbor. 

" 'If you weaken and break under their pressure, there'll 
be no way of getting out,' we'd tell him. 'If you weaken, right 
then and there it's going to hurt us all.' 

"We learned to listen to the communists in a way that went 
into one ear and out the other. We learned how to do this as 
soon as we saw what they were up to. 

"We showed those fellows examples of others who had got- 
ten messed up by the Commies. They'd make the man their 
flunkey right away, and his buddies would regard him as an 
outcast. We used those men as examples, and we went to 
work on those fellows at the same time! This was good for 
us, too, for it kept us busy, so we wouldn't be obsessed with 
the Red talk. 

"Someone remembered or got somewhere a copy of Kip- 

96 Brainwashing 

ling's poem, 'If.' We read it to each other all the time. This 
helped a lot, because the Reds always kept preaching this 
second-class citizen stuff at us. Little by little, you could see 
some fellow weaken, just from the awful monotony of it. 
He'd be pushed along by punishments. One man would be 
made to stand at attention for hours, holding up a heavy 
iron bar until he was totally exhausted. Another would be 
stood on the Yalu River ice with his shoes off. They'd tie a 
man up and let him swing from a rope while they beat him 
with clubs. They'd stick a fellow into a hole in the ground. 
They'd do anything to a man. 

"We either learned to think ahead of them, watching out 
before getting into trouble, or take the consequences. By 
thinking it out, I found that I was fighting to save my life 
and that of my buddies, and that I was also fighting to save 
my country. Those were the two reasons I fought in any 
battle in the war. 

"I learned that you can weaken a man either physically or 
mentally, but if he's got the determination to survive, he'll 
likely walk out okay. When the going got tough, no matter 
where, I switched my mind to the things I had back home, 
and I'd think about my mother. I kept living because I kept 
thinking about how much I had back here to live for. I 
learned pretty quickly, from being under the communists, 
that I had a democracy to live for. 

"None of us had ever gone through any such experience 
before. We tried not to let it get the best of us, watching 
out for each other. 

"The Reds first mixed up all the races and nationalities, 
thinking the men would fight between themselves," Lunn 
said. Then they outfoxed themselves by segregating the Ne- 
groes, exposing communist hypocrisy. "This threw us on our 
own resources," Lunn went on. Segregation defeated the 
Red scheme of depriving each individual of ties in any group 
that was not communist-dominated. The Negroes now were 
strengthened by a sense of belonging in their own organiza- 
tion, where the color of their skin was the sole requirement 
for membership. 

The Negro as P.O.W. 97 

The Reds divided the prisoners in this camp, known as 
No. 5, into five companies. Besides the colored, there were 
sections for white Americans, "special Americans," Turks, 
and British. "Special Americans" meant Puerto Ricans, Fili- 
pinos, Hawaiians, Japanese and Mexicans, Australians, 
French, and one Greek. The English, Irish, Scotch, and 
Welsh went into the British company. A mixed company was 
formed later of recently captured personnel. The set-up dif- 
fered from camp to camp. The communists apparently ex- 
perimented with different approaches, as all the p.o.w.'s were 
under a co-ordinated control, with main headquarters at 
Pak's Palace. 

"After they separated us, they began working on each 
group, giving each something that was supposed to be special 
for it alone," Lunn said. "Some say the Negroes got it best, 
but this wasn't so. They did the same to all in turn, taking 
everything away and then giving a bit back to make us think 
they were being kind. 

"Most of all, the Reds tried not to let anyone have any- 
thing to think about except communism. That way a man 
lost every bit of self-confidence and went out of his mind. 
The only way to prevent it was to stop thinking about them. 
We soon realized that our main problem was to get our minds 
off the Commies. They tried to keep us thinking about them, 
worrying about what they'd want next, worrying what we 
should do. 

"The heat was on us day and night, and they never let up 
a second. If we kept thinking how powerful they were and 
how weak we were, we'd lose hope and end up saying, 'What's 
the use? They'll have their way with us anyway.' We had to 
think hard and fast to beat that, and we couldn't be choosy. 
We had to use anything that would do the trick, 

"You'd see a man sitting beside you. Maybe he'd been sit- 
ting that way for hours. You knew what he was thinking 
about, because the only comments he made were about the 
Commies. Maybe they had called him in for a brainwashing 
and told him he wasn't frank and to go out and think, just 
think how wrong he'd been, and to come back in a couple of 

9 8 Brainwashing 

days and confess. Confess! Confess what? They were always 
insisting on confessions, and on what they called self-criti- 
cism, and they wouldn't tell you what crimes you were sup- 
posed to be guilty of. You were supposed to figure that out 

"You'd see that fellow, like I see you sitting here, and 
suddenly he'd go off the beam. He'd crack. Just like he was 
smashing up from the inside. He'd be all gone. 

"He'd first look off into space for hours, and then he'd do 
crazy things. He'd walk out of the camp in broad daylight, 
going toward the river, and not have a chance in the world. 
We'd stop him if we saw him in time. Sometimes we had to 
sit out all day and night watching one fellow when he got 
into that state, because you never knew when he'd try to kill 

"When we saw the Reds were driving men crazy that way, 
we decided two could play at that game. I did it once myself, 
and helped save myself. I felt myself passing out from weak- 
ness and decided that I wasn't going to get weak for nothing. 
The next time they came, they found me sitting up staring 
into space. When they said something to me, I just kept star- 
ing. I knew how to look, because I had often seen the real 
thing among my buddies. 

" 'The most they can do to me is kill me,' I thought to 
myself. 'Okay, if you want to kill me, I know you can,' I said 
to myself. 'If you don't want to kill me, don't mess with me.' 
That's the way a lot of us guys learned to take it. 

"You can't just tell yourself this. You have to be in the 
mood. You have to face it like a soldier. You'd be surprised 
how often that saves a life. 

"A man was in the groove when he knew that if it was in 
his power and was God's will that he'd be coming home, 
that's what he'd be doing. That's how I figured it out, and 
stayed by it all the time. I never let it leave my mind. I clung 
to it." 

A minute later he added: "You have to have faith in some- 
thing to make that work. If you don't, how can you get the 
will power to survive? 

The Negro as P.O.W. 99 

"A lot of us went on a crazy bat to get the pressure off. We 
played as if we were in another world. We just had to get out 
of our surroundings. We had to keep one step ahead of them 
because they had us, and we didn't have them. We had to 

"Sometimes, when the Chinese came up, a man would get 
up and grin and then start laughing. He'd do so no matter 
what they said or did to him. He'd grin and laugh hard, for 
he was doing it to save his life. 

"You did simple things like that to outsmart them. A man 
might walk round and round all the time, in an aimless way. 
You did the first thing that came to your mind, crazy like. 

"We had to think hard to see through their tricks. We had 
to fall back on what we had learned from life. We had no 
leaders. It had to be every man for himself." 

Every man had to accept the responsibility for his own sur- 
vival, and at the same time had to help the next fellow, the 
same way as the next fellow had to help him. They had to 
think for themselves and for each other, not the collective 
way of the Reds that buried individuality, but the democratic 
way that broadened a man. 

"We'd get our heads together when we were sitting around 
and pool ideas," Lunn said. "We'd do this when we went to 
the river to wash, or anywhere else we had the chance. We've 
learned from life how things meant to hurt you can be turned 
into a blessing. The Reds gave us only what they thought 
would crack us. We had to turn this to our own good. Mari- 
juana, for instance, was growing all over the place. The Reds 
officially banned it, but weren't very serious about it. If it 
would demoralize us, they knew it would be easy to get stool 
pigeons among us. We had to put a stop to that. We saw what 
marijuana was doing to white folks. Nice fellows brought up 
in fine families took it because they were feeling hopeless. 
The marijuana completed the job for the Reds. 

"Our spirits were way down. We had no medicines, no 
sleeping pills. We were like men with the DT's. Instead of 
seeing pink elephants and purple ants, we saw Reds, until 
we were ready to screech. 

lOO Brainwashing 

"One day we saw a fellow coming from the brainwash er 
looking like a ghost. He was on his way back to his hut, 
where he had to 'study.' He was on the verge of cracking, and 
when he did, he'd hurt others. He knew our secrets. We had 
to do something quick and it had to be good. One stool 
pigeon was all the Reds needed in a group. 

" 'You got to get groovey,' we used to say, and, 'Get on the 
ball and blast.' Those words had special meanings. The Reds 
tricked us by using words differently than we, so we did the 
same. The Commies had their eyes on us and were listening. 
Blast meant to smoke marijuana. If we could get him to 
smoke a bit of it right now, before he cracked up, not after, 
it would save him from the Reds. After would be too late; it 
wouldn't be medicine then; it would be dope. We had to 
keep our timing just right. 

"That's when someone first put those words into a song, 
like this: 

" 'In this society you got to be in class. 
You got to get groovey. 
Get on the ball and blast.' " 

The tune sounded quite catching. "The fellow caught on," 
Lunn continued. "He carved out a bit of time for himself, 
free from worry over the Reds. He didn't think about a thing. 
He was in his own world at last. The pressure that had been 
put on him night and day was taken off him for the first time, 
and it saved him and us. The pain pressing on his brain gave 
way. He didn't crack." 

I doubt whether any moralist could condemn this. If there 
had been a doctor among these p.o.w.'s, he would have pre- 
scribed a sedative for a man in that condition. Nothing was 
available except marijuana, and the physician would have 
had to use that. Thrown on their own resources, this is what 
the men did. 

Marijuana, growing all around them, was too great a temp- 
tation for men driven almost mad by mind attack. The 
whites, more susceptible to formalized codes of behavior, 
usually abstained until it was too late, so that it helped in 

The Negro as P.O.W. loi 

their demoralization. Almost everyone smoked it in that 
pitiable group of U.N. soldiers who said they didn't want to 
go home. 

The Golden Cross Club 

Several released p.o.w.'s had referred to an organization 
that the Negroes had formed while prisoners of the Reds. 
This sounded almost unbelievable, for the communists had 
ruthlessly ferreted out and smashed any group that wasn't a 
part of their network. 

Yet an organization called the Golden Cross Club Against 
Communism was formed right under their noses. I was told 
it had been started by a fellow named Robert Lee Wyatt. He 
had been married only a week when I located him, in a small 
house he shared with a chum, Russell Freeman. There was 
nobody home except the bride when I knocked, and I waited 
until both men came home from work. 

Freeman arrived first, wearing high rubber boots and 
rough workman's clothes. In the lobe of his left ear I noticed 
a tiny golden cross. I had seen the same in Roosevelt Lunn's 
ear. Freeman was a hard-chested, broad-muscled man. He and 
Wyatt had been buddies since 1948, and they had gone to 
Korea together, where they were separated. Wyatt was cap- 
tured while Freeman was in a hospital. Two and a half 
months later. Freeman was caught, too, and they met unex- 
pectedly in a prison camp after not having seen each other 
for nearly two years. 

I talked to Freeman while waiting for Wyatt. He said he 
wore his emblem in memory of his buddies who died in 
camp. "What you see isn't what we had in Korea," he said. 
"We wore anything there, from bits of straw to a piece of tin. 
When we got home, we decided to keep the club going. We 
were very thankful for what it had done for us and didn't 
want to let it drop. Some of us had a small cross of gold made 
up. In camp, we made crosses out of anything we could get, 
and we knew what they were, even when they didn't look a 
bit like a cross. This helped us fool the Reds. 

102 Brainwashing 

"We all pierced our ears at the same time. That way, we 
felt the pain less. One man did it himself, if he could, or for 
someone else. We used anything available, such as a rusty 
nail or a piece of sharpened tin. The club had no officers and 
no meetings, nothing the Reds could pounce on. 

"The Commies only saw what was stuck in a man's ear 
lobe. They couldn't understand it, but we knew they repre- 
sented crosses. 

"We formed the club to keep up our spirits. Anyone who 
wanted could join. Some Filipinos and white Americans did." 

Freeman was at the front six months and a prisoner thirty 
months. He was beaten for an hour when caught and then 
marched twenty miles the same night. He marched from 
February to May, 1951, when he contracted yellow jaundice 
and had a high fever. He was then thrust into the "death 

"I prayed every day," he said. "I wouldn't let anything 
stop that. I based my strength on the Bible. The night I was 
supposed to die, I lay on my back praying and praying that 
the Lord would come and touch me and make me holy. He 
did come that night, and He was in the room with me, and 
I know it, and next morning, instead of being dead, I felt 
good, and I felt happy. I felt like I didn't have a worry in the 
world, and from that day on, I knew I was going to make it 
and come home safely." 

This is as he told it, as I scribbled it fast into my notebook. 

"You have to take the first step forward," he went on. 
"You have to have the will power and the faith. I've always 
had pretty good will power. When the chips are low, I never 
give up." 

The Reds used flattery, browbeating, and their best argu- 
ments on Freeman. "Weren't you affected by what the Reds 
told you?" I replied. 

"I never doubted my own side, from beginning to end," he 
replied. "They pitted men with fine educations against me, 
and I had to do some fast thinking. I decided that I could 
not believe a word they said because I couldn't trust them. 
That was good reason. I couldn't trust them because we were 

The Negro as P.O. W. 103 

fighting them. My country was at war with them. We 
wouldn't have gone to war if we didn't have a good reason." 

Other returned p.o.w.'s told me how shaken they were by 
talks given by Lieutenant John S. Quinn, an Air Force officer 
who was taken on a tour of the camps to confess germ warfare 
that never happened. Quinn spoke convincingly, and had a 
starring role in a Red movie on the subject. 

"The first time I heard him was over the 'bitch box,' " 
Freeman said, giving the loudspeaker its slang name. "Right 
off, I doubted if he was an American. They said he was an 
American, but how could I be sure? Then, when he was 
brought to us, I still couldn't know for sure. I never had any 
doubt that his germ-warfare talk was anything but lies. If I 
couldn't be sure who he was, how could I know why he was 
talking this way? You wouldn't believe some stranger who 
came and accused your best friend of something horrible 
without proof, would you? Then why believe such accusa- 
tions against your own country? That doesn't sound like it 
needed much brains to figure out." 

Freeman recalled some of the ways the Reds used men like 
Quinn to disturb the minds of their fellow Americans, some- 
times even letting them chat with the other p.o.w.'s after a 
talk, as if off the record. The Reds didn't have much to 
worry about, because once they had terrorized a man, he 
would see stool pigeons everywhere. 

"At first, when they told us he confessed to dropping 
germs, we thought it was a Chinese who had lived in America, 
or maybe a Russian who dressed and talked like an Amer- 
ican," Freeman said. "Then the Reds brought him around 
personally to lecture. Some of us fellows booed him, and the 
Chinese had to calm the boys down and take him away. In 
talking about him among ourselves, what interested us was 
what kind of treatment they had given him to make him act 
the way he did. As for his confession, most of us just took it 
for hogwash. 

"Right afterwards, the Reds came down on us like a 
sledgehammer, to get us to confess all sorts of vicious crimes. 
They wanted each of us to confess to something bad. The 

104 Brainwashing 

germ-war talk was supposed to be the come-on. We decided 
that the way to fight this was never to admit a thing and to 
be always against whatever they said, no matter what. We 
knew they weren't interested in the truth, but only in crack- 
ing us. They tried to get a wedge into you, and then kept 
hammering at it until they smashed you wide open. So our 
line was, 'We ain't seen nothin' and we ain't heard nothin', 
and how can you tell somethin' if you don't know somethin'?' 
When we could keep to that, we were safe." 

One day the Reds came to Freeman and said he was a 
squad leader. "Oh yeah?" he said, but he was a squad leader. 
He laughed, remembering this. "They fired me pretty soon, 
after warning me to keep quiet and keep my ideas to myself." 

Wyatt came in while we were talking. He was wiry and 
thin, a handsome man. He had a puncture in his ear lobe, 
but was not wearing the cross. I told him that others said he 
had originated the Golden Cross Club. 

"Not altogether," he replied modestly. "I had heard that 
there was a club called the Black Diamond. One of my bud- 
dies was beaten for being in it. The time was ripe for some 
anti-Red organization that could be secret, like an under- 

Freeman interrupted to say he had seen more fellows once 
at Fort Lewis, near Seattle, who had their ears pierced and 
wore a diamond in their ear lobe. "Maybe that was in the 
back of my mind," Wyatt remarked. 

Sometime later, going over old newspaper clippings, I 
found an item about Pfc. Walter Chambers of Hornsburg, 
Pa., that quoted him as mentioning a Black Diamond Society, 
"an informal group of song-singing, joke-cracking colored 
p.o.w.'s whom the Reds deemed disrupters." They used 
"bop" jargon to confuse the enemy. 

Wyatt said that when the Reds saw the men who had been 
tampering with their ears, they forbade it, but were too late 
to prevent it. "As soon as the idea came up," he said, "we 
recognized how good it was. We knew we had to work fast if 
we were going to get away with it. The Reds just didn't want 
anything that looked like it might be an organization. Even 

The Negro as P.O.W, 105 

with all the scrap tin and old needles we could find, we didn't 
have enough ear ornaments to go around. Some fellows just 
pierced their ears and let it go at that. Others put in bits of 
straw picked out of their gunny-sack matting. 

"Our ears got sore. Resistance was low, and it was hard 
for anything to heal. Ears stayed sore a long time." 

I asked him about himself. 

"I was nearly dead several times," he said. "I didn't know 
what kept me alive. It wasn't my help and it sure wasn't any 
help from the Reds. At first I thought maybe I was just over- 
average lucky. Many fellows bigger than me died. After a 
while, when I saw myself surviving, I felt there had to be a 
reason. I felt I was being kept alive for a reason. I've always 
believed in religion." 

"Did the Red indoctrination ever make you feel there 
might be something in what they said?" 

"I was never the least bit doubtful. I thought it out. I 
decided that ideas that people try to force on a man can't be 
too good. If they were good, they wouldn't have to force them 
on you. Once I made up my mind to that, and had this to 
test them by, no matter what they said, it went in one ear 
and out the other." 

Freeman had been close-mouthed and wary when I first 
introduced myself to him, but he had gradually opened up, 
and when Wyatt came in, had introduced me with real cor- 
diality. Wyatt seemed hesitant at first, but as we chatted, he 
became equally cordial. I asked them about this, and the 
reluctance of former p.o.w.'s generally to talk about what 
they had gone through. 

"There're three reasons for it," Wyatt said. "They're 
afraid. The fear that was put into us in those camps don't 
leave a man easily. They're suspicious of everyone and don't 
know who to trust. And they're just fed up with it. We're 
constantly being asked by people who don't understand what 
we're trying to tell them, and are mostly curious, anyway." 

"The subject becomes a pain," Freeman remarked. "It's a 
pain in my stomach. In our book, what has happened, has 
happened. We don't want to talk about it if we can avoid it, 

io6 Brainwashing 

because we don't want to bring it back to life. Interviews, 
any interviews, are now hard. After going months and 
months, for years, being interviewed by the Reds almost 
every day, any interview is like rubbing an open sore." 

Then Wyatt said something that was one of the best re- 
wards I could be given. "The only people we can talk such 
matters over with are those who were with us, or who had 
gone through such experiences," he said. ''With you, it was 
like talking it over with a buddy who was in the camp with 

First Man Out 

I climbed upstairs to the editorial offices of the Afro- 
American in Baltimore and asked what they knew about 
Corporal Robert Stell, who was the first U.N. prisoner of 
war to be returned in "Little Switch." An editor interrupted 
his race against a deadline to take me to the library, where 
a young lady brought me several fat envelopes of clippings. 
However, the dispatches about Stell and the other first re- 
patriates provoked more questions than they answered. The 
articles read as if the reporters had been groping for some- 
thing that kept slipping out of their fingers. 

I jotted down significant points about Stell: 

All his toes amputated . . . compound frostbite . . . eyes 
still too weak for him to wear glasses . . . malnutrition from 
a vitamin deficiency . . . twenty months a p.o.w. . . . "The 
first book I learned to read was the Bible. I'm really a book- 
worm. My life's ambition is to go to Howard University and 
study philosophy, maybe become a lawyer." While in the 
Army he studied psychology, sociology, political economy, 
"and a lot of other college subjects." Only seven when his 
father died . . . "We lived like gypsies." He quit school and 
lied about his age to enlist. 

His bungalow home was in the outlying Cherry Hill sec- 
tion of Baltimore. The house had been built for him and 
his mother by grateful businessmen and other citizens of the 
community after his old home had been razed for a housing 

The Negro as P.O.W. lo^ 

project. He was a broad, good-looking fellow wearing thicli 
horn-rimmed glasses, and said he didn't want to talk. "I'm 
back home," he said. "I survived." I told him the reasons for 
my interest. "I'm through with that deal," he answered. "I 
don't care if nobody knows my attitude." 

He said this too quickly, too neatly, for it to be the whole 
answer. I felt sure his insistence on silence wasn't his real 
feeling. I had met many of the boys who have come home 
from Korea, and civilians from all parts of the world who 
had undergone tortures of the mind. I had come to recognize 
a certain look, the wound showing through a man's eyes that 
exposed the deep injury to his soul, and his disappointment 
in discovering that people at home seemed not to understand. 

Friends and neighbors greeted the homecomer like a long- 
lost brother. They shook his hands affectionately and slapped 
him on the back. "Tell us everything that happened to you," 
they begged. While he was groping for words to explain this 
strange new experience, someone was always sure to inter- 
rupt, and with scarcely concealed curiosity ask, "Did they 
beat you up? Do you have any marks? Let's see them." 

The only atrocities in which these people, who now seemed 
strangers to him, appeared interested, were those inflicted 
with a club. Yet the atrocities that often hurt the most and 
caused the most lasting wounds were inflicted without a 
finger being laid on the man. How was a fellow to explain 
this? When he tried, someone was sure to say, "Yes, you had 
it damned tough. I want you to know that we were rooting 
for you all the time, and we were sure you'd come through 
with flying colors. There's going to be a great wrestling 
match on the television in a few minutes. I . . . you wouldn't 
want to miss it. Come on over to the house and we'll pull up 
a chair for you." 

I recognized some of this in Stell's face. No, it wasn't really 
true he didn't want to talk. When he did begin to speak — his 
first details were given to me an hour later — he did so with 
such feeling and earthly wisdom that I was awed. He had 
been thinking it out a great deal by himself, reading up on 

io8 Brainwashing 

the psychology of it, too. His was essentially a story of how to 
survive brainwashing. 

He said brainwashing used methods found in "mental 
therapy," and mentioned the simple things that could "bring 
a man down" and crush his reserve. "I've seen a strong man, 
the first time he was given a piece of candy, break down and 
cry," he said. This was the key to how the communists made 
others envious, craving for the little the Chinese possessed, 
"this very little that they now lacked." The tactic was ab- 
surdly simple. Fellows who had had a comfortable life, never 
deprived of anything, were given this treatment. They were 
made poorer and weaker than even the Chinese. All the Reds 
had to do then to earn their gratitude was to give them a 
tiny bit of what they had formerly had so much of. 

The brainwasher who had brought a man down to this 
pathetic pass gave him a morsel of something that recalled his 
lavish past. Tears would gush forth. His gratitude would 
overflow like a child's. 

Men who had lived simple, down-to-earth lives, who 
weren't afraid of going without comforts because they had 
done it often before, couldn't be cracked so easily. 

We moved from his neat parlor with its shiny new furnish- 
ings into the kitchen, where Stell did his studying. A pile of 
books and notepaper scrawled over with mathematical formu- 
las lay on top of the table. I noticed he had difficulty reading 
his notes. He used a magnifying glass to read. We talked a 
little about his hopes. 

"The subconscious mind seeks a form of substitution," he 
said, the heavy thought startling me. He explained by para- 
bles or by incidents out of his own life. He had been self- 
taught by these, rather than by the books with which he 
surrounded himself. He gave me the example of a child left 
alone on the street by its mother. Some kids will insist on 
waiting a long, long time, while others will give up and go 
along with the first person who asks them. The p.o.w.'s put 
their expectations on the return of the U.S. troops to deliver 
them from the Reds, he said. The fear rose, sooner with 
some, later with others, that they would never come. 

The Negro as P.O. W. 109 

The Reds stepped into the breach, ''acting like a smart 
parent," he said. They used the whip, but not often. "They 
knew that the American prisoner had to look to them for 
everything, and that in this way they replaced his mother 
and father," Stell said. "Everyone had only rags, and nobody 
would share even these with you. So what did you do? If you 
were tortured, you couldn't take it very long because of your 
weakened condition. A fellow would be stood out on the ice 
a couple of hours a day without shoes. The Reds were devil- 
ishly patient. One day the p.o.w. would screech, Tor God's 
sake, don't take me out there any more. Tell me what you 
want me to do. Anything.' " 

The Reds collected people from various walks of life into 
one group, and then put pressure on them all together to sign 
a petition or make a broadcast. They would notice the indi- 
vidual who first showed signs of weakening and work on him. 
"He might have been a stool pigeon at home, too," Stell said. 
"The Reds start the ball rolling by picking out such men." 

Yet many did hold out, a miraculously large number, con- 
sidering how they were thrown into this wolves' cavern with- 
out being given a hint of what they might find there. Some- 
times the man who broke had all the advantages in brawn and 
brain, and frequently in rank. It depends on a man's previous 
feeling of security, was the way Stell explained it. "If that is 
still in him, his subconscious knows there is nothing the Reds 
can give him. The fellow who cracks never got a real sense of 
assurance out of his previous conditions of life. He saw 
nothing to live for." 

He took recourse once more in parables. "Take two chil- 
dren," he said. "Both face the same trials of life. One is 
raised with love and affection and has an integrated environ- 
ment. When he grows up, he already has known the satisfac- 
tions in life. Later on, when he meets hardships, he accepts 
them as the ups and downs of life. His subconscious, con- 
fronted with a terrifying experience, has its sense of security 
to fall back on. It is with him all the time, part of him. He 
is not a frustrated, envious man. 

"The other kid doesn't get love and affection and hasn't an 

no Brainwashing 

integrated way of life, so when he grows up he blames his 
hardships on the past. He breaks under pressure." 

Some fellows hardly needed to be pushed. "When one type 
of man is suddenly brought up against political propaganda, 
he will grab hold of it, for it will seem to be what he's been 
craving for all along. He will have been waiting and waiting 
for someone to hand him something he can grab hold of. He 
doesn't much care what." 

He had seen men who gave every evidence of physical and 
mental strength crack and die while others who appeared 
sick and weak lived on. Stell expressed this in his homely 
manner. "There's a sort of individual who dies easily," he 
said. "He doesn't think that his present circumstances are 
worth a damn or that they have anything to offer him. He 
never really felt life. His present experiences don't give him 
enough to stand up on. So he sees no alternative to his present 
sufferings. He got nothing firm out of the past or present. He 
sees nothing hopeful either way. 

"He didn't get enough out of his past to make him want to 
survive, and his present life certainly doesn't seem worth 
living, so he feels. What the hell? He's ready to die. He 
doesn't see anything really worth living for." 

Basically, Stell said, this was the lack of a feeling of security, 
and he stressed that what he meant was not just material 
security. He mentioned a fellow he used to know who had a 
prosperous family and all he needed, yet who became the 
friend of people who didn't have half of what he had. "A 
man can be in fine circumstances, with a big house and cows, 
and yet all of this might not be enough for him," he said. 
"The next chap might be in poor surroundings, but if his 
neighbors accept him and don't laugh at him, he is contented. 
What counts for the individual is what he considers im- 
portant. That is what matters to him. 

"You start out when a baby forming a condition," he said. 
He had given this word a special meaning to fit these exact 
circumstances. By condition, he meant an environment which 
included one's own self, for the human being helped form 
the environment of which he was a part. He meant, too, atti- 

The Negro as P.O.W. iii 

tudes and circumstances together, everything that gives pleas- 
ure or pain, inside or outside a person. "When this is put up 
against other conditions, you have to be made up firm, so 
you can be competitive and get along," he said. 

"You're not married, are you?" I asked. "No, not yet, but 
my experience in the p.o.w. camps, watching what men did 
under pressure, has given me definite ideas about raising a 
child." I asked him about this, so we could talk about some- 
thing less tense for a few minutes, but his answer showed how 
his p.o.w. experiences were always with him. "I'm going to 
do two things for my child," he said. "I'll be his vanguard. 
I'll uphold his little world until he gets strong enough to 
take care of himself. I'll take care not to confuse him. If I 
said I'd do something, I'd make sure to do it. Otherwise, I 
would tell him I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't let the child 
worry, thinking he didn't know what his papa or mama was 
going to do. He'd know!" 

He stressed these points, saying, "I'd make sure to keep 
from confusing him. He'd feel sure this was his little world. 
It w^ouldn't be over there, or somewhere else — anywhere else. 
It would be right here, where he was. He'd know that this 
was where he could put his trust, that he could rely on us, 
that we wouldn't let him down, and that we were pulling for 
him all the time. We'd never let him down." He said this last 
with particular emphasis. I had the feeling that this was 
what he expected of his country, too. 

"The worst thing that could happen to a p.o.w. was to get 
the idea that there was nobody at home pulling for him," he 
then said. "The difference between comprehension and com- 
passion is that the latter is understanding with feeling. The 
p.o.w. can know that the U.S. is where the sun shines best, 
that it is the finest country in the whole world, and he can 
know that everybody in America means him good. But un- 
less he also has the feeling that America is mine, that a bit 
of it is all mine and not anybody else's, the rest doesn't count. 

"If he only knows he has his own dog there that still 
remembers him and is his friend, that is more important to 
him for his chances of passing safely through hell than all 

112 Brainwashing 

the talks the President can give. It's more forceful for him, 
too, than the beat of all the drums in America. He has some- 
thing his, just his, waiting for him to go back to. That's 
what counted when the chips were down. Those little things 
are why a man stands up or falls down, although he may not 
know it himself." 

I referred to the disappointment the Negroes had been 
to the Reds. His race had been a credit to his country and 
the Free World at a time when the communists were sure 
they could shape their unsophisticated minds into any form 
they wished. 

''The Negro is able to take a beating," Stell said simply. 
"He's had to graduate from a hard school — a down-to-earth 
school, the simple life — and he's learned not to let bad luck 
break his spirit. He's got immunity. He's immune to normal 
setbacks, and he's got the capacity to take it better than his 
more fortunate brethren. The communists couldn't grasp 
this at all. They felt the Negro was craving for something the 
white man had, that he wanted to copy the whites. They 
didn't realize that during all of his past hardships, the Negro 
had developed something of his own, distinctly his. If the 
Chinese communists had taken the Negroes seriously, they 
would have realized that the Negro put his own taste into 
everything he got from the white man. They would have 
known that the Negro had his own characteristics and a 
character of his own. Part of this character is his attachment 
to little things that belong essentially to him. He hasn't lost 
the appreciation of the little things that count the most. He 
can still see their value, their terrible importance." 

Then, in a tone that echoed his own wonder over how it 
was possible for so many souls to have lost touch with it, he 
said suddenly, "Religion is what anybody can have." Re- 
ligion was among the "little things" he referred to that didn't 
have to be bought and couldn't be worn like a hat. He didn't 
really mean they were little, but that they could be easily 
shared. He explained that he wasn't referring to these things 
in their entirety, grand and awesome and too big for any 
one man to hold, but the tiny share that the small man could 

The Negro as P.O.W. 113 

grasp to himself. This is what meant everything to him and 
motivated his actions and ideas. So long as he hadn't lost sight 
of them, small as they might be, he had something to cling 
to that was the biggest thing in his world. 

"This little thing the Negro has, he can take anywhere he 
goes, anywhere," Stell went on. "A lot of white people go to 
the opera, to the swankiest bars and the most expensive 
cafes, and eat heavy, juicy steaks as often as they wish. But 
the Negro is used to eating plain food. He even makes up 
his own songs." 

Softly, to himself, he hummed a song that came out of a 
p.o.w. camp. Then he went on: "We all knew that everyone 
of us was under a great suppression. We were in sorrow, 
seeing our buddies dying all around us. Men then can't just 
sit it out, feeling sorry for themselves. They'd go mad. They 
have to do something about it. The only thing that could 
make them keep going was their spirit. 

"We'd sit around and we'd see one of our buddies being 
called to the indoctrinator. We knew the hell he was going 
through. We'd sit, and then someone would start patting his 
knee, and others would join, and we'd all say different little 
things. They all added up. We made decisions that way. Little 
things like that developed the life within each man and 
among ourselves. 

"Sometimes when one man said one thing and another 
something else, and they made sense together, we'd make a 
song out of it, singing the words our way. This made it even 
more difficult for the Reds to know what we were up to. 

"I don't know where one song came from, but we'd sing it 
when we saw one of our fellows acting sorry for himself. We 
knew that wrecks a man and can kill him. We saw it happen- 
ing daily. We sang: 

" 'Six months ain't no sentence, 
And two years ain't no time. 
Because me and my buddies 
Got life time here.' 

1 14 Brainwashing 

"Somehow, those words cheered a fellow, bucking him up." 

He returned to talking about faith. "Religion came as a 
natural thing, served as a means of entertainment as well as 
service," he said, sorting out his ideas carefully. 

"Religion with the white man was something he found in 
church. He went to church to find religion, and he had some- 
one teach it to him there. Religion for a Negro is something 
he can live. He lived it every day in camp. He lived it no 
different there than at home. He can work hard back home, 
and feeling tired and beat up, look up at the sky and exclaim, 
'Old Man, You sure am working me today.' Or he can look 
up and say, 'Oh Lord, this am sproutin' time, lighten up, 
lighten up!' meaning lighten my burden. This can happen 
any day. There's nothing difficult about it if it's the way you 
truly feel. That was the personal, man-to-Man religion — each 
man and his God — that we took to the p.o.w. camps. How 
could the Reds take that away from us? They were helpless 
against it. 

"White men had formal religion. When they felt dizzy 
from what the Reds were doing to them, they might stop and 
say a prayer, or even get on their knees and pray, as a very 
formal thing. You need time and place for that. 

"Not so with us. With us, it's all part of life. With the 
whites, it was something in a separate compartment of their 
minds, all alone by itself, left there to be taken out for 
special occasions in nice Sunday clothes. 

"Some fellows had crosses and prayer beads with them, but 
the Reds wouldn't let them keep them and wouldn't let them 
have religious services, either. When the communists took 
away their crosses, hymnals, and other religious symbols and 
aids, and banned their church services, they had taken their 
religion clean away from them. They hadn't any left." 

Those words stunned me and I thought of the instances I 
knew of white men whose experiences contradicted what Stell 
said. But when I thought over the details of p.o.w. camp life 
generally, as I had heard them from many lips, I had to recog- 
nize that he was largely right. Many times in the future, 
while interviewing others, I was to think back on what Stell 

The Negro as P.O.W. 115 

had said, for what these persons said usually checked up 
with what he had told me. Exceptions were noble and in- 
spiring, but they were for the most part exceptions. 

What Stell was referring to was a religious sense that was 
as natural to a man as his hand, and for which he required 
no exterior aids whatsoever. I found that the formality of 
religion and its emblems had replaced the quality in it for a 
tragic number of people. They had lost touch. 

Stell went on: "This wasn't so with the Negro. He could 
be out cutting wood or drawing water and look up toward 
heaven wherever he was, and have his own private religious 
service any time he wanted, day or night. If the job was extra 
hard or the cold extra freezing, he would say, 'Old Man, You 
sure am acting up today!' When you feel that close to God, 
you are terribly strong. Nothing on earth can lick you. This 
close friendship with one's own God was what the white 
man seemed to have lost, and it showed up in the p.o.w. 

Again I thought that his generalization was too sweeping, 
but as I recalled specific cases I felt there was much, much 
more truth than otherwise in it. I had to admit to myself, too, 
that I had not met many white men who could chat in this 
casual, intimate fashion with the Deity. For most, it would 
have been sacrilegious, for they simply did not possess that 
close feeling. Stell had hit upon a factor in basic attitudes 
of the utmost significance. 

After a spell of introspective thinking, Stell suddenly said, 
"Religion is part of the training I'd give my baby. The 
Negro has always had to rely on God more than the white 
man. If the Negro had no God, he had nowhere else to go. 
What makes you appreciate something is your need for it, 
and you must learn by experience that it is there with you, 
waiting for you whenever you need it." 

He sat meditating a bit again before he said: "It isn't that 
I appreciate hardships or like to suffer. The average Negro 
thinks the same about that as anyone else. We wouldn't like 
to have to call on God as much as we do. But we've learned 
how to do it from having to, and it sure stood by us in Korea.'* 



Herb Marlatt 

Herb — Army Captain Herbert E. Marlatt — was standing at 
the door of his parents' home in Detroit in his bathrobe 
when I first saw him. As it was night when I arrived, the 
house was lighted up like a beacon to make sure I didn't 
miss it. He signaled my taxi. Then I noted his handsome, 
boyish face and his natural, friendly look which gave an 
impression of recovery. 

Yet he had been in bed all day at the doctor's orders be- 
cause his nerves were still raw from his Korean experience 
and any little thing caused short circuits all over his body. 1 
learned this from his father, a short, stocky man who was the 
type of highly skilled technician around which American in- 
dustry has been built. 

Later that night, when I caught Herb's profile as he talked, 
I noticed the tenseness in his lips and the look of con- 
valescence about him. The strain and marks of his long 
p.o.w. siege were still on him. I had further evidence of that 
a few weeks later when I visited him at the military hospital 
on the enormous Selfridge Air Base at Mt. Clemens, Michi- 

He had gone there to have a lump cut from his back, a 
souvenir of camp brutality. The army surgeon hadn't known 
his story, and when he looked at his back, he exclaimed at 
once, "Looks like you took quite a beatingi" He was right. 
The lump marked the spot where the Reds most often beat 
their prisoners with clubs and kicked them. They had beat 
him often, in irritation over his failure to break. The jellied 


ii8 Brainwashing 

flesh had developed into a tumor. Herb showed his deter- 
mined character by getting out of his sickbed that noon and 
appearing, again in his bathrobe, at the Officers' Mess where 
I was addressing the local Lions Club. 

We sat up until well after midnight on that first visit. 
Korea had given him a sense of mission. Indeed, the most 
characteristic trait of men and women of all stations of life, 
military and civilian, who have come safely out of a rigorous 
brainwashing is this sense of mission. As I came to know him, 
I found there was something even more specific in it. His own 
survival could undoubtedly be attributed to it. Survival for 
a purpose made all the difference in the world. 

He explained how this had come about in his case. He had 
seen three-quarters of the men around him perish. He was 
in the Death March under North Korea's "Tiger," when any 
man who faltered was battered over the skull and shoved or 
kicked off the road, to become one more corpse among the 
hundreds. Herb saw men summarily executed for the crime 
of being sick or wounded. Men marched shoeless, in cotton 
clothes, so all down the line limbs were freezing and gangrene 
spreading unchecked. 

They were long weeks on the march. "Whether you lived 
or died became immaterial even to yourself," Herb said to 
me. "That you would live seemed impossible. Death was a 
welcome release from those horrors. When a man's knees 
faltered or he stumbled, he hoped in his misery that the blow 
would land on his head quickly, as he had seen it fall on 
others, and put him to sleep, too, ending all those tortures. 
We never imagined a human being could stand so much 

" 'Why should anyone go on with it?' This thought came 
to plenty of men. What seemed certain was that you were 
going to die. Why delay it when each intervening moment 
would be dragged out timelessly by pain? 

"This was the state of mind of the remnants who dragged 
themselves toward the first permanent camp. Then one man 
spoke up. He was John J. Dunn^ who had served in the Burma 

Camp Life 119 

jungle with Merrill's Marauders. His voice was angry. There 
was no despair in him; he was all rage. 

" 'Those so-and-so so-and-so's!' he cried. 'They're sheer 
evil' " — the actual expletives he used can be imagined. 
" 'They will never listen to any reason except force! Their 
kind of viciousness has to be wiped out on a battlefield. It 
won't ever be solved at a conference table; it can only be 
cut out, like a cancer!' 

"Then he became silent, and after a couple of moments, 
as if inspired, exclaimed, 'By God, men! That's why we're 
here. When that day comes, and we meet communism on the 
battlefield, our country will be in need of people who have 
seen its face and know what it is. Of course that's why we're 
here! That's why we have to survive, so we can go home and 
let our people know. We must survive; that's our job now!' 

"When we heard that, it was as if we had been given a shot 
in the arm. We had a purpose now. There was meaning to 
our suffering. Whereas the moment before we had hoped for 
death, feeling the hopelessness of our plight, now we knew 
we had to survive. 

"The entire environment was changed by Dunn's words, 
transformed from a meaningless morass into a struggle in 
which we were privileged to be a part. 

"Many who would have died, lived, for they had been given 
a reason to survive that was incalculably more powerful than 
the pains we were suffering. 

"The men were now certain that they were in on the 
ground floor of what was actually a phase of World War III. 
From that time on, Dunn kept stressing to the men that they 
must regard their captivity as a tremendously important op- 
portunity to understand and interpret the Chinese commu- 
nist mind and to find out the most effective ways of reacting 
to the Reds and their environment. 

" 'We can succeed in our job only if we get out of here 
alive,' he kept saying. Everyone now focused on probing 
what the Reds were up to, not allowing themselves to be 
taken in by trickery. Instead of being discouraged by the 
enemy's pressures and being caught off balance, they met 

120 Brainwashing 

each blow with eagerness. They discounted the Red propa- 
ganda right from the start." Herb was positive that those in 
his regiment who survived did so because of Dunn's inspira- 

"How did this actually save lives?" I asked. For reply, he 
told me another experience. ''More than once," he said, "I've 
seen a man sit down in front of his tin of boiled corn or 
washed-out sorghum in the morning and stare at it. He'd 
just sit and stare. He had perhaps survived better than others. 
His physique certainly looked better. Maybe some of the 
others could hardly drag a frostbitten leg across the ground. 
Perhaps, too, his education was better than those sitting at 
the table. 

"I'd hear him mutter to himself, *I can't take it any more. 
I just can't take it.' Before the day was ended, you'd hear 
the death rattle in his throat and he'd be dead. 

"The fellow sitting next to him, weaker and less educated 
and perhaps even less privileged than he, maybe sick, too, 
would grit his teeth a little more and take anything that 
came his way, determined he'd leave alive. Curious, but that 
type of fellow most often did." 

When a man's spirit died, it killed the rest of him! This 
was what Herb and countless of his buddies learned in the 
p.o.w. camps. Some knew it before and it helped them 

"Call it coincidence, call it anything you want, Fm just 
telling you what I saw with my own eyes," Herb said. Then 
he related the most thrilling adventure story I had ever heard. 

This was the softening-up period when men were perish- 
ing everywhere. Death lived among the men, choosing first 
one, then the other, indiscriminately. The freeze was so in- 
tense that no effort was made to bury anyone. Rivers were 
indistinguishable from land, and trucks and tanks could cross 
without impediment at any point. Bodies were just carried 
out and dumped, already stiff, for it was almost as cold 
indoors as out. 

Herb was a normal young man, as typically American as 
the frame house in which he had been brought up. The un- 

Camp Life 121 

relenting mind pressures, after the rigorous Death March, 
naturally slowed him up. He found he wasn't thinking as 
fast as before. A fog seemed settling over him. This situa- 
tion was entirely new to him, but he saw through enough of 
it to realize that he had to keep his eyes on the ball as never 
before. He understood one point very clearly. This was that 
if he ceased being able to distinguish clearly between his 
interests and those of the Commies, they would use him for 
their purposes before he knew what he was doing. 

The routine was deadly, especially watching the bodies 
of those he had accompanied in laughter and in horror being 
carted out like logs of wood. Each man saw himself in that 
position. One morning Herb did a daring thing. He didn't 
think ahead on it, but he did it deliberately. When he woke 
up he saw two more bodies. He had spoken to each of the 
two men only a few hours before. Now they were bodies. 
They were dumped by the door and would be lifted out very 
shortly, unceremoniously, as was the rule. 

Herb was not an ostentatious young man. He wasn't the 
type to make a show of his religion. But this time, as if it 
were the most natural thing in the world, he walked over 
to where those two bodies lay and recited a simple prayer 
over them. 

He simply stood over them and, out loud, not loudly, re- 
cited the simple prayer. The men knew what he was doing 
because the room became very quiet. The Reds became furi- 
ous. Any indication of religious ceremony sent them into a 
frenzy. Herb's act had been sheer defiance. He had known 
it. They called his act a crime and thought up a punishment 
to fit it. They forced him to stand under a corner of the 
tiled roof while they poured buckets of ice water down its 
ledge. The water fell over him, a freezing shower. 

This was as excruciatingly painful as being caked in ice. 
The water began freezing almost as it fell. What happened 
then he never found out. The intervening six weeks were a 
complete blank to him. All he knows is that he began to 
come out of his coma about a month and a half later. 

If this had been all, it would have been dreadful enough. 

122 Brainwashing 

but it was only the introduction. The first part had to do 
with a blow he received from the outside. The second part 
was the struggle waged inside him. He had kept control of 
himself by keeping his mind off his troubles, by thinking 
about his family and the lovely times they had had together. 
He tried to resume this after awakening from his icy shower. 

"I found that I couldn't recall the name of an old uncle of 
mine," Herb told me. "I thought this was peculiar, but I 
didn't worry about it and went on to some other recollec- 
tions. That is when real terror struck me. The names of those 
other relatives had left me, too. Who was the man on whose 
knee I used to rock? I had known his name as well as my own. 
Now I couldn't remember it. For the life of me, I couldn't 
remember it. 

"I don't believe it is possible to fully convey to others who 
haven't experienced anything like this the fright it gave me. 
If I couldn't remember such simple facts as the names of my 
relatives, what resistance did my mind have left? This was 
a time when the Reds were watching like hawks, taking ad- 
vantage of every slip a man made. They'd have soon caught 
on that something was wrong with my memory. That's what 
they were watching most. 

"I had been raised, I suppose, like most children. As a 
little boy, my mother had taught me to recite the Lord's 
Prayer. I used to recite it before flopping into bed at night. 
That was my childhood habit, and I had continued it for 
years. The words were as familiar to me as my own name. In 
desperation now, unable to remember the names of my 
closest relatives, I turned to God to help me. This time I 
knew I was all alone, with nowhere else to turn — except to 
the communists, who were waiting patiently and expectantly. 

" 'My God, help me,' I prayed, and instinctively turned to 
the Lord's Prayer, as I had done as a boy. This had always 
been a comfort. I opened my mouth; but the words didn't 
come out. I had lost them! They were gone, and my mind 
panicked. Yet I could no more recall them than walk out of 
that camp to freedom. 

"I knew this was my last chance. They could do whatever 

Camp Life 123 

they wanted to me now. I began the greatest struggle of my 
life. I fought to recover the Lord's Prayer before the Reds 
put the heat on me again. 

"I'd struggle a whole day to get back those words, and by 
the time I fell asleep, terribly worn out, I'd have recovered 
maybe one of them, just one little word. That let me know 
I was on the road back. I fell asleep content then and woke 
up refreshed. Although I had only a few hours of sleep, I'd 
wake up eager to resume the fight. I was desperate! 

"This was the fiercest battle I ever fought. I knew what it 
was to tire out my muscles in a game or a struggle so that 
they pained terribly. That was nothing compared to the 
agony in my mind as I struggled to remember that short, 
familiar verse from the Bible. 

"This effort continued for half a month. Then I won the 
battle. I recaptured all the words of the Lord's Prayer. With 
them, I got back the names of all my relatives. That victory 
was my turning point. I now knew that the Reds would never 
win my mind, never so long as a breath remained in me. I 
had licked them. I had beaten them in this decisive battle 
and no other struggle could ever hold the same terrors for 
me. I could beat them again and again now." 

Herb did not minimize the effect of mind attack. "We 
could no longer think as human beings," he said. "All we 
survived on were our convictions. As the pressure increased, 
they boiled down to just one, the religious conviction. 

"When the body deteriorates, only the spirit can maintain 
life. A strong moral structure is essential, and its foundation 
has to be belief in a supreme being. I know from my own 
experience that the spirit is real. This spiritual strength 
brought me safely into port." 

The communists used every artifice, no matter how crude, 
to corrode the spirit. Captives were kept in horribly over- 
crowded cells, ill with amebic dysentery and other foul dis- 
eases, forced to live in their own filth. The guards then 
taunted the helpless men for being "dirty," and kicked and 
beat them. 

"Unless a man had convictions, this left him completely 

124 Brainwashing 

defenseless, without weapons to fight back," Herb said. 

His mother sat on the couch listening intently to every 
word her son uttered, sadness and pride in her eyes. She 
might have posed for Whistler's painting. A big shaggy dog 
brushed in and out, as if on guard, squatting at her feet. Her 
husband, on a rocker on the other side of the room, with 
deep, kindly insight, had bought it for her when it was a pup, 
soon after they heard of their son's disappearance into the 
emptiness of Red territory. Mrs. Marlatt used to tiptoe down- 
stairs in her nightgown when she thought her husband was 
fast asleep. He pretended not to notice. The dog would 
follow, and she would sit up most of the night worrying over 
her boy, praying for him. 

"I was given my convictions by my parents," he told me. 
"Because of what they taught me, I knew that my sufferings 
were for a good cause, no matter what was done to me. I 
believed sincerely, and this faith sustained me." 

He had not been afraid to die, he said. The communists 
had made death a familiar, even a homely figure. People were 
dying all around him. Dying didn't seem hard at all. Living 
was much more difficult and took all one's inner strength. 

Herb was one of those to whose integrity the Reds gave 
witness by branding them as "reactionaries," trying to hold 
them back as "conspirators against peace" when the other 
p.o.w.'s were being released. 

Some time later, talking to a campmate of his, I asked how 
Herb was doing. "He's just had a second operation on his 
back," he told me. "He's okay now — I think. But you can 
never be sure. The effects of those clubbings keep turning 
up when no trace is left and you think it's all faded into the 

Then he told me an anecdote that Herb had been too 
modest to mention. Herb was out on a wood detail guarded 
by a Korean Red of about fourteen, in uniform and carrying 
a rifle. Some Korean gals came by and the boy began to give 
Herb a hard time, showing off. 

Herb took it all patiently until he couldn't stand it any 
longer. Then he coolly laid down the heavy log he was carry- 

Camp Life 125 

ing, walked over to the youth, took the gun away from him, 
laid him over his knee and spanked him. Just spanked him! 
Soldiering was forgotten and this fellow became the bawl- 
ing kid he was. The girls, stunned for a moment, burst out 
laughing. A Korean officer, hearing the tumult, came over 
with a mean look, but couldn't help himself. He started 
laughing, too. This relieved the tension, although it was a 
time when they were shooting people for no reason at all. 

Zach Dean 

The cat-and-mouse game that the Reds played with a man's 
mind was vividly described by Captain Zach W. Dean of the 
U.S. Air Force. He was an oil-field engineer from Oklahoma, 
with deep-set eyes. When I asked him how long he had been 
a prisoner, he said, "Two years and four days." I almost 
expected him to add the hours and minutes. 

"The Reds brought you to the point of death and then 
they revived you," Zach said. "Then again they brought you 
to death's door, and when you were about to enter, they 
pulled you back." 

He gazed at me, hesitating to go on. "You may not believe 
what I'm going to tell you," he said, "but after the Reds did 
this a few times, you were thankful to them for saving your 

"You lost your sense of proportion and forgot that they 
were the ones who had almost killed you by starving you, not 
letting you sleep, beating you. You only knew that when you 
were about to die, they saved you. They did this often enough 
for it to consume your whole thinking process, until you were 
grateful enough to do anything they wanted." 

He stopped again for a few moments, and I could see he 
was peering into that horrible past, maybe to the hole, into 
which he and Frank Noel, the fifty- three-year-old Associated 
Press photographer, had been kept in isolation for six weeks 
as a punishment for trying to escape. 

Dean frequently referred to the way the communists 

126 Brainwashing 

seemed to know everything that took place in the camps. "We 
could keep nothing from them," he exclaimed, and it was 
plain to see what terrifying effect this impression had on him. 
The illusion of knowing everything was one of communism's 
most powerful weapons. In some p.o.w. camps the Reds made 
it more than an illusion — they did find out everything. A 
few weaklings or "progressives" made it possible. 

The effect was to discourage men from plotting to escape 
or anything else because they took it for granted that before 
they could put any plan into operation, the enemy would 
know all about it. This led them to distrust each other. The 
Reds publicized enough examples of people betraying their 
relatives and friends to make everyone afraid to take another 
into his confidence. One Chinese camp official bragged that 
he had betrayed his father to the authorities. He was shaven- 
headed, so the British nicknamed him "Head the Ball" — a 
soccer term for intercepting the ball with one's head. 
' As people cannot keep themselves bottled up this way, the 
Communist Party offered its own broad bosom for these 
frustrated, unhappy individuals to sob out their innermost 
yearnings and secrets, coaxing them to "be frank." Everyone 
heard those two words again and again; they were reiterated 
constantly at each of the hundreds of thousands of "demo- 
cratic discussion meetings" held throughout the Red areas. 
The guards as well as the captives they watched had to attend 
such meetings, where they were incessantly urged to "be 
frank." Every variation of appeal, from self-interest to fear, 
was used for this. 

"You couldn't trust a single person," Zach kept saying. 
"The way the Reds got hold of almost every scrap of informa- 
tion was eerie." 

Yet it was evident that the Reds themselves had built up 
this illusion. They didn't know everything, by a long shot! 
Zach's own experience showed it! "A small group of Masons 
remained intact during their own captivity," he told me. 
"The Reds never found out." The mere knowledge that they 
were able to keep this group in existence was a tremendous 
boost to the morale of its members. Zach stressed that these 

Camp Life 127 

men, strengthened by this proof that the Reds were not 
supermen, maintained a good record against crack-ups. 

''How were the Reds able to keep up this fiction of omni- 
science when such a startling secret could be kept?" I asked 

"Curious, but they did," he mused. "Most fellows didn't 
know the secrets the Reds couldn't find out, but they did hear 
of the secrets the communists did manage to learn. If we had 
been able to get a clearer picture, if somehow information 
of this sort could have been gotten to us, we would have been 
much more daring. We could have put over some of the 
stunts we thought up but didn't dare mention to a buddy 
or try out because we had lost hope about keeping anything 

"Come to think of it," Zach went on, "there was another 
important secret they never learned. Lieutenant Harrison, 
who was released by them early in the exchange, would have 
been held back if the communists had known who he was." 
He was Thomas D. Harrison, the cousin of the head of the 
Allied team that negotiated the Korean cease-fire! "Many of 
us knew it," Zach went on, "yet nobody mentioned it to the 

If the communists had not built up this reputation that 
they knew everything, the Free World would not have ended 
the war with practically no escapes. Few attempts were made; 
the men didn't dare. In some cases, Koreans made their way 
to the p.o.w. camps in the north and contacted American 
prisoners, saying, "Come along with us; we'll lead you back 
to your own lines." They were afraid to take the chance. 
Their trust in humanity had been shattered. They were "too 
smart" to be trapped this way. Some said, "Why take a 
chance? I'm going to get out with a whole skin." They were 
confident release would come in time. The others were just 
hopeless because no hint ever came from new prisoners that 
the outside world welcomed such daring. Any rescue effort 
would have electrified the spirits of all the captives. 

Zach was one of the ex-p.o.w.'s who told me, "I never 
doubted for a second that I would be free again. I didn't 

128 Brainwashing 

know how it would come about, but I was perfectly at ease 
about it happening." 

The Reds were able to break a man's mind only when they 
accomplished two things, he said. They had to deprive him 
of clarity of thought and upset his sense of values. Zach saw 
men give up their lives for a cigarette. "I saw them starving 
to death," he told me. "Yet they secretly gave away the tiny 
portions of food they got in exchange for a butt. They must 
have known they'd die without the wee bit of nourishment 
they were getting. Yet they insisted they couldn't go without 

Frank Noel 

Press photographer Frank Noel belonged to a profession 
which possessed a tremendous propaganda potential to the 
Reds. They persistently tried to use him, but he had learned 
about communist duplicity in East Germany where he cov- 
ered the arrival of Gerhart Eisler, the top Red agent who 
broke bail and fled from the U.S., and in Yugoslavia, before 
Tito's break with the Kremlin, where he covered the purge 

Frank was captured on November 29, 1950, but he snapped 
his first picture as a p.o.w. more than a year later, in mid- 
January of 1952. In the next ten months, until November, he 
took 350 photos, 300 of which were sent abroad by the com- 
munists. He was kept in a Korean house for the first year and 
a half, alone except for a Chinese who stuck to him like a 
leech, sleeping in a room at the side. When Frank took pic- 
tures, the Chinese went along. They had to return by night- 
fall, and Frank was never allowed to talk to a p.o.w. except 
in the presence of this Chinese. 

The communists were most anxious that he make com- 
posite photos, superimposing one picture over another to 
give the effect they wanted. Zach was the first to tell me that 
Frank's continued refusal to do so was what kept him in the 
hole for forty-two days with him after their futile escape plot. 

Camp Life 129 

Frank would have been released from the pit the minute he 
gave in. 

"I doubt whether any man knows his wife's attitudes and 
background better than Frank and I know each other's," 
Zach told me. "You can't be stuck in a tight earthen cell with 
another man for that time and not know everything there is 
to know about him. The Reds tried every sort of bribery on 
him. The hole in which they put us was almost as dark dur- 
ing the day as at night. Yet we managed to play checkers with 
bits of torn paper. When we weren't doing that, we just sat 
and talked." 

Both were put into the hole on several occasions, but only 
once together. Frank received many other punishments, such 
as being forced to stand at attention for long periods barefoot 
on the frozen sod. 

Soon after his capture, Frank was put into discussion meet- 
ings, but these abruptly ended for him after he took advan- 
tage of what he had learned about communism to point out 
contradictions and political errors. He could get away with 
this because he knew how anxious the Reds were to use him 
to photograph germ-warfare exhibits. He stubbornly refused 
to do so, and succeeded in outmaneuvering their pressure 
until the truce saved him. 

The negotiations for him to have a camera were conducted 
through Wilbur Burchett, the turncoat Australian. Burchett's 
sly, calculatingly sympathetic approach fooled many p.o.w.'s. 
He and the revolting English communist reporter, Alan 
Winnington, helped edit self-criticisms and confessions which 
turned innocent men into renegades like themselves. 

These two used their credentials as newspaper correspond- 
ents in the truce area to act as semi-official communist spokes- 
men and as Red spies. Their propaganda output for the Red 
press was rewritten by the Peking authorities at will, and was 
printed abroad only by the communist press or quoted by 
others when they wanted to explain the Red position. 

Frank saw some of Burchett's articles in the Shanghai 
Evening News, the only English-language paper on the Chi- 
nese mainland, which was promptly suspended — the need for 

130 Brainwashing 

it no longer existed — with the departure of the p.o.w.'s. 
Frank one day rubbed Burchett where it hurt, for he evi- 
dently was suffering from a frustration complex. "Can't you 
write any better than that?" Frank asked, reading one of 
Burchett's pieces. 

"Sure I can, but Peking changes it," Burchett snapped 

When a prisoner was in an agony of loneliness, aching to 
see another white man, or browbeaten so that he felt utterly 
helpless, Winnington or Burchett would show up, as if by 
chance. Burchett was more skilled at creating a sympathetic 
front, for Winnington was unable to conceal the bitterness 
eating his insides. Burchett would bustle about at once to 
make the fellow's lot a bit better, offering to assist him in 
whatever was giving him trouble. Usually he would discover 
that the difficulty was a touchy point in a self-criticism or 
confession. "You're not a writer and I am, so Til fix it up for 
you," he'd say. He'd fix it up, all right! The poor prisoner 
would be edged delicately toward treason. Burchett was an 
old hand at this. No more lying, slanderous books ever have 
been written than those about America by him and Winning- 

Burchett had met Frank before, while on assignments in 
East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Chungking. When the Reds 
started their germ-warfare hoax, it was Burchett who ap- 
peared in the truce area and "leaked it" to the newsmen. 

He appeared before Frank one day and suggested that "a 
lot of good could be done for the families of the p.o.w.'s" if 
the American cameraman would photograph their captured 
sons so the pictures could be sent abroad. 

The Reds had plenty of their own photographers busily 
snapping as many propaganda pictures as possible. The 
p.o.w.'s had learned to warn each other by mumbling, "Watch 
out for Desperate Dan the cameraman," whenever one of 
these would suddenly appear, for instance, at the rare re- 
ligious service allowed by the Reds for this purpose. 

Frank saw through Burchett's suggestion and decided to 
use it to his own advantage. He could sneak strategic back- 

Camp Life 131 

ground and other intelligence into the photographs. He was 
aware of the Red maneuver to suck him into their network. 
In the resultant tussle between himself and them, he was 
confident he was the winner. 

In his Texas drawl, he told me he was able to get a peculi- 
arly shaped ridge into one photo and a distinctive hill into 
another that identified camp areas unknown to the U.N. 
Command. This was a time when the communists were soft- 
ening up p.o.w.'s by telling them that their countries were 
ruthlessly bombing them, while persistent efforts by the Free 
World to find out the location of the camps were being frus- 
trated in every possible way. 

The dickering over Frank's camera lasted about a year. 
Finally the Reds allowed one to be relayed to him by foreign 
correspondents at Panmunjom. "I was very eager to get hold 
of a camera, because I was positive I could do a job for my 
own country that way," he told me. "But I pretended I didn't 
want it, and even after I had it I kept telling the Reds to take 
it away. Whenever they pressed me to take a picture that had 
a propaganda slant to it, I'd say, *I told you to take this darned 
machine away. I never asked for it, and I'd rather not have 
it.' Actually, I was terribly afraid they might do so. 

"Because of this attitude of mine, before the camera ar- 
rived, Burchett wrote me a letter saying I would not be 
forced to snap anything I didn't want, and that everything I 
did was voluntary. This was Red double-talk, but I beat it 
by giving it my own slant. That letter became my most valued 

"Whenever anyone tried to interfere with the way I was 
taking a picture, or whenever they tried to get me to take one 
of their fake propaganda scenes, I'd pull out this letter and 
say, 'I don't have to do it. Here's a letter from Burchett say- 
ing so. He ranks higher than you do in the Communist 
Party.' " Frank was quite ignorant where Burchett ranked 
in the Red network, but it must have been high, as his signa- 
ture was always effective. 

"After such incidents, they always laid off me for a while," 
Frank reminisced. 

132 Brainwashing 

He figured out that the Reds needed him alive, and gam- 
bled on it. When they threw some extra heavy chips into the 
pot, he knew he had to meet them or give up the stakes. Both 
sides played for keeps. I do not believe that a gamble such 
as this can be safely taken in future combat. Backgrounds 
in photos can be faked, with very adverse results for the foe. 
The enemy will be better prepared next time to exploit such 
a channel. 

But Frank Noel, who had been with the Marines when 
caught, and who could have been given the works for having 
helped these sea-soldiers carry ammunition in defiance of his 
civilian status, used his brains in a way that kept them from 
being washed. 

Robert Wilkins 

Robert Wilkins was given the works, yet he came out in- 
tact in body and soul. He was a master technical sergeant, a 
specialist whose mind was filled with the details the Reds 
wanted so desperately. They finally had to brand him a reac- 
tionary. He wasn't merely a reactionary, he was incorrigible. 
He proved it by selling automobiles while a prisoner. Ap- 
propriately, he came from Detroit, a city the communists de- 
tested because its workers owned their homes and drove their 
own cars, making them "capitalists," turning the conventional 
Red language of class warfare into utter nonsense. 

Wilkins planned to be a musician, but joined the Air Force 
instead, going to Europe as a tail gunner. He thought his 
war days were over when he was demobilized in 1945, and 
lost little time finding a wife and a job as an auto salesman. 
They were expecting their second child when he was recalled 
into service. He helped ferry the first American warplanes to 
Indo-China. Soon he was flying into Korea, sometimes on 
four or five missions daily, in B-26 light bombers. These were 
all low-level attacks in mountainous terrain, without radar 
or oxygen, with only six hours' fuel. 

"This was far more hazardous flying than in Europe," Bob 
recalled. "Planes that should have been condemned after 

Camp Life 133 

1,500 hours were taken out of mothballs and were still flying 
after 2,000 hours. We screamed for more new planes and 
replacements. We got only replacements, and even those were 
old. We borrowed planes from other squadrons so we could 
stay in the air. 

"They had a right to call men such as me out of the inac- 
tive reserve, although this was poor planning. Others were 
available, but they had no time to hunt them up. This was 
understandable. The boys felt, though, that they shouldn't 
have been put to unnecessary dangers because of inadequate 
equipment. There was no excuse for this in a rich country 
like ours. This made men think they were expendable be- 
cause of a slip-up somewhere else, and it hurt morale. 

"Another blow to the men called back was the lack of dis- 
cipline we found among those in regular service in Japan. 
You had to go into town to hunt up your crews, who were 
shacked up with Japanese girls. They were ready to do their 
duty, but discipline was shot to pieces by the soft life in 
Japan. When they returned from a mission, their only 
thought was to get back to their girls. They didn't even wait 
to clean their guns. These men, flying combat themselves, 
were not worried about their guns not firing properly in an 
emergency, and they didn't bother to put them into shape 
for the next man, either. We screamed some more, and then 
some of us reserves were put in charge of gunnery. 

"What was just as serious, if not more so, was that we 
weren't told anything about the type of war we were fighting. 
We were just given planes of a sort and told where to strike. 
We had no idea why we were fighting in Korea, and we 
weren't told anything about the communists. I had to become 
a prisoner of war after fifty missions to realize why we had to 
fight them. 

"Despite all the lies and twisted facts the Reds told us in 
their indoctrination lectures, we still got a better all-around 
picture of the world situation from them than from our own 
people! What we found out from the Reds themselves proved 
to us that they were our all-out enemy and justified every bit 
of fighting we were doing against them. What a wonderful 

134 Brainwashing 

boost for morale it would have been if we could have learned 
that from our own side, instead of having to wait until we 
were captured by the Reds to find out how rotten they were 
and how right we were." 

Bob's plane was making a strafing run when the hills on 
both sides suddenly spewed lead and steel from concealed 
gun positions. Shrapnel gashed the top of his head and hit 
him in the leg. He bailed out, and while floating to earth 
heard the nearby village blow up from salvoed bombs. As 
he touched earth, his plane exploded against a hillside. 

"I found cover in shrubs and trees. But as I took off my 
chute and hid it away, I felt millions of eyes watching me," 
he said. "I hot-footed it into the mountains and started climb- 
ing. Behind me, I heard shouting and jabbering. I caught 
sight of guerrilla patrols coming up. They spotted me at the 
same time and fired. I fired back. This went on in American 
Indian style for some little time. 

"A shot came from the side and then another from farther 
up. I began to feel exposed. A shot hit the rock near where I 
was crouching. I saw them closing in, coming from the back 
of the hill. I hadn't thought of that! I gave myself up then, 
intending to make an obvious escape attempt if they got 
too rough, forcing them to shoot me. I expected to be shot or 
killed anyway. I raised my hands as they came up and dis- 
armed me, taking everything I had except my flight suit. 

"A big crowd of Korean civilians was waiting in an ugly 
mood at the bottom of the hill. They tried to grab me, but 
two Korean guerrillas protected me, although they knocked 
me down several times. The leader came running up, ab- 
solutely infuriated. His face was contorted, and he knocked 
me down and shoved me about. Finally he pointed his rifle at 
me and motioned to the crowd to move back. He meant to 
kill me then and there. At that moment four soldiers came 
pushing through and started arguing with him. I found out 
later they were Chinese. After a hot argument, the Chinese 
got back my shoes and motioned me to go with them, two in 
front and two behind. They didn't give me my shoes, but 

Camp Life 135 

marched me barefoot all night to their command post, where 
a Chinese officer spoke American English. 

"I was told they had saved me for questioning, but that 
feeling was so high among the Koreans who lived in the 
destroyed village that they might have to hand me back. They 
would try to save my life by negotiating with them, they 
promised. Then they started questioning me. Afterwards, 
they tied my hands and led me back toward the village. 

"The Koreans were all out, squatting and standing around 
a big fire. I was marched through the crowd and made to 
squat near the flames, with a Chinese guard standing over 
me. The Koreans started beating their tom-toms and drums. 
I remember thinking about a Gary Cooper movie in which 
he is strung up and the Indians are about to execute him. 

"A Korean girl stood in the middle of the circle and did 
a posture dance until she fell on her face, exhausted. A man 
jumped into the circle and resumed the dancing, chanting at 
the same time, pointing at me and then at the girl, who was 
lying prostrate. The crowd became deadly silent. I heard 
muttering and was afraid it would get out of hand. Whole 
families were sitting there. I lost all sense of time. Suddenly 
everything stopped, and the people calmly got up and started 
strolling away. The Chinese guard reappeared and led me 
back to the command post. 

"The officer there said he had conducted negotiations for 
me with the Koreans, and they had agreed to hand me over 
to him after condemning me to death as a war criminal. This 
saved their face. How much of this was true and how much 
an act to make me give in I don't know. Probably a bit of 
both. Anyway, they questioned me for a whole day, and then 
my shoes were returned and I was taken away. 

"After several days of marching, I was put into Bean Camp, 
a group of long buildings with metal roofs and no markings. 
This was on the main Red supply route, not far out of Pyong- 
yang, and had been strafed the night before. They had just 
finished burying a number of American p.o.w.'s as I came 
up. Another American and two British officers who had tried 
to escape had just been brought in. 

136 Brainwashing 

"Later the four of us decided on a desperate escape attempt. 
Two others came along, including a young pilot who was 
terribly depressed. We traveled all night, and hid the next 
day in a cave during a heavy rain. We had only two containers 
of water and a small bag of pulverized soybeans that we called 
bug dust. We had to drink water to get it down. Our first mis- 
take was trying to go too far too quickly, up and down the 
hills and through the underbrush, forgetting about our lack 
of food and weakened vitality. We were cold and wet. 

"Utterly exhausted, after two nights and three days of this, 
we broke our resolution not to go near a Korean house. We 
saw one up on a hill and went into it. Only women and a 
few kids were in it. We asked for something to eat and I lay 
down. In a little while a shot came through the wall, then 
more. We were like six mice in a cage, moving about on all 
fours with nowhere to hide. I had on my flight suit. I had 
tried to trade it off to others in the camp, but had failed, al- 
though they were in rags. The Reds had aroused the fury 
of the villagers by telling them that all their troubles came 
from the American airmen, and they were hot on our trail. 
The British officer had given me a beret, the private a pull- 
over, and both had briefed me on a Centurion tank, so I 
could pass as a British tanker. 

"Our new captors, who were Korean guerrillas, waited for 
nightfall and then marched us to a police station. I squatted 
in a corner, crossing my legs to cover the zippers of my pilot 
suit. The British officer was the only one questioned and he 
covered up for me. Just then the town was bombed, and the 
Korean police looked at us with blood in their eyes. After- 
wards, we were taken to an old mine shaft that had been 
made into a prison. It was so crowded with Korean civilians 
that we took turns sleeping, a half-hour each. The floor on 
which we lay was soaking wet and water kept dripping from 
the ceiling. The Koreans were taken out and worked in the 
daytime to the point of exhaustion. 

"We were kept there a few days until Chinese guards came 
to get us. We were tied to each other and led along a deserted 
road. When we got back to camp, the commander said we'd 

Camp Life 137 

be shot, and made us kneel. He first walked behind us and 
then in front of us, his pistol cocked. I don't know whether 
he was bluffing or changed his mind. Still tied, he marched 
us to a Korean house and made us kneel on the cement floor. 
The guards from whom we escaped were put in charge of us. 
If we slipped, they beat us back onto our knees. 

"The next morning we were taken to another Korean 
house where we were bound with ropes that pulled our arms 
high and tight in back, cutting into our forearms. We were 
kept like this for three days and nights. We got one bowl of 
gruel in all that time. Our hands were loosened for ten min- 
utes, so we could eat. I wished they hadn't, for blisters rose 
at once where the ropes had cut in. 

"Then they retied us with a half square knot that drew so 
tight it straightened out your clenched fist. Our arms were 
so swollen that the ropes sank almost out of sight. We had 
to kneel again, and the rope was attached to the roof, so if 
we moved, we only tightened the knots. If our knees wobbled, 
it yanked up our arms, almost tearing them off. 

"The next morning they tied us as they had the first time, 
and we were kept this way for two weeks. The ropes were 
loosened ten or fifteen minutes a day while we ate. This 
saved our arms from rotting, but they burned like fire all the 
time. An American officer went out of his head. None of us 
was entirely rational. 

"Then we were separated and I was put in a small store- 
room and not allowed out for another week. The young pilot 
had hardly eaten in all this time. We tried to force-feed him, 
holding his nose and shoving food into his mouth, but it 
didn't work. We tried ridicule. I tried to distract his mind 
by talking autos. He talked about them, but wouldn't eat. 
He talked about buying a portable bar and giving us all 
drinks. He said he intended to buy a car when he got home, 
but that he'd have to bring his father to see it first. He said 
he never bought anything or made a decision unless his 
father okayed it. 

"Before the week was over, he was dead. 

"Immediately after this, the Chinese began to indoctrinate 

138 Brainwashing 

us. They gave us Red magazines and papers and lectured us. 
After a while, they came to me and suggested that I volun- 
tarily give a talk on 'the indiscriminate bombing of Korean 
villages.' What they wanted was a confession that they could 

'1 refused and they said they would give me until the next 
morning to 'think about it,' and that if I still refused, I'd be 
severely punished. Right then I made a decision I never re- 
gretted. I decided that I would still refuse, and if they car- 
ried it any further, if they put the heat on me so I couldn't 
bear it, I would then reverse my decision. I won't make a 
hero out of myself by saying that I would never have agreed 
under any circumstances, as I think I would. I didn't know 
then what I know now about the devilish tricks they have up 
their sleeves. It is easy to say 'die,' but what if they make it 
impossible for you to kill yourself, while chiseling away at 
your thoughts all the time, torturing your body at the same 
time? This is not a matter of 'No, never,' but of how long a 
man can stretch his endurance, and whether he can outguess 
and outlast them. 

"The next morning I refused again. They told me they 
would send guards for me in a couple of hours, and that this 
would be it! Those next couple of hours were awful! I was 
less worried when the third hour passed without anyone 
coming to take me to those new, unknown horrors. They 
never came! I never regretted calling their bluff. 

"When they failed to show up, I lost a great deal of my 
fear of them. From then on I was able to get along much 
better. I refused to sign anything. If I had given in on that 
one point, I believe I would have cracked through and 

"I also learned something that guided me from then on. 
This was to let nothing be taken from you willingly. This 
discourages them if they have to do so much work on little 
things. I noticed that if a p.o.w. broke easily on a minor 
detail, he cracked almost the same way on bigger matters, and 
from then on betrayal became a habit with him." 

Bob didn't realize it, but he was paying them back in their 

Camp Life 139 

own coin. Communists never give a man anything until they 
have to. Indeed, this is a clue to their aggravating behavior in 
international relations. The Reds never concede a single 
point, no matter how trivial, until they must, and have gotten 
everything they can in exchange for it. In this way they tire 
out their opponents who, glad to get rid of this little detail, 
surrender something of importance. 

"If you stall along until you've come just this side of ex- 
haustion, you'll probably be able to keep control over your- 
self," Bob said. "I had no other rules on how to maintain 
control over myself and not become a puppet of the enemy, 
except this simple one. So long as I could adhere to it, every- 
thing else fell into place. 

"When we had our next lecture, five or six p.o.w.'s gave 
the talk they had wanted from me. The Reds had put the 
same pressure on a lot of us, certain that some would weaken. 
Those who did weaken spoke on such subjects as, 'How we 
shot Korean civilians when we took a village,' 'How we 
burned peaceful homes,' and 'How we shot communist 

"In those days I trusted every American implicitly. I knew 
nothing yet about the Commies using American civilians as 
Red propagandists in China, or how they softened up a fel- 
low and then used him against his buddies. I was ordered to 
draw an air map of my base and refused as long as I could. 
Then I went back to my shed and told a lieutenant how I 
would go about it, making it ridiculous. He had been in our 
escape attempt. 

"A few days later, after I had turned in the map, I was 
called back and ordered to redraw it. I was not shown my 
original. They asked me the same old questions all over 
again and searched me carefully, making me take off all my 
clothes. I was asked about escape routes to such and such 
an underground. I was asked about the anti-Red guerrillas 
in the area where our plane had been headed. I stalled on 
the map. I put in a runway, while trying to remember the 
other map. Finally, they tired of this stalling and took me 
into an adjoining room where I was stunned to see the lieu- 

140 Brainwashing 

tenant in whom I had confided. He had told them everything, 
and all he knew, too. He had shifted the blame for the escape 
on me, saying I had instigated it, and that I had a flare on 
me when we left. This was silly, but luckily the Reds grabbed 
on this point and insisted I give up the flare, which I never 
had. Finally they said I had to prove I hadn't ever had it. 
They said they'd weigh my word against his, and severely 
punish whoever lied. We were returned to our shed. They 
interrogated the other four and reached the conclusion them- 
selves that it was the lieutenant who was lying. He was the 
one punished. The British stood up for me. 

"I have nothing but admiration for the British," he said. 
"I saw them give the Reds a hard time while they were being 
tied up. They swore at them. They had scar tissue still left 
from the burning by those ropes. Two British officers were in 
a horrible condition from deep burns. One died." 

The men were then shifted to Pak's Palace. "I got brutal 
treatment there, but found that by lying about things that 
mattered, I could get by on the rest. Every man in that camp 
was ordered to turn in drawings of military bases. The Reds 
concentrated men there whom they believed had the dope 
they wanted. By playing them against one another, they got 
a lot of what they were after, including real names. 

" 'You are from Detroit, aren't you?' they said to mc. 
That's where there are a lot of war plants, aren't there?' 

"I denied it. 'They're just auto factories,' I insisted. This 
didn't go over well. When I couldn't stall any more, I drew a 
long building that I called an assembly line. I drew other 
buildings that I labeled 'warehouse,' 'machine shop,' and 
'railway depot,' and I marked everything else 'parking lot.' 
I named the place Briggs Body Manufacturing Company. 
This satisfied them. An Army officer drew something he 
labeled 'Seagram's Distillery,' and this satisfied them, too. 
What they had to have was a certain amount of paperwork 
from each prisoner or they'd get in trouble. When I found 
this out, it helped my planning a lot. 

"They demanded to know how we located our targets at 
night. After I couldn't stall any further, I swashed a lot of 

Camp Life 141 

colors over a sheet of paper, erased two spots, and labeled it 
'truck lights.' I did the same with a second drawing. In a 
third, I erased little squares and labeled them 'door' and 
'window.' I took a long time and looked very serious doing 
it, and it satisfied them. They wanted the paperwork. 

"The same thing happened when they landed on me to 
write about aerial gunnery. I repeated myself, saying the 
same thing over and over, using slightly different language 
and shifting the paragraphs around each time like they do. 
I dragged everything out, padded everything, never using 
one word where a dozen might do, or even two dozen, and 
gave 'em nothing. Absolutely nothing! They had a nice stack 
of paper and were overjoyed. This is what their superiors had 
demanded of them. 

"You must be smart," he said. "When you're being worked 
over by relays of trained examiners, you can't be quick on all 
their questions and then act dumb on one. Once you act a 
part, you've got to go on with it right to the end, even when 
it's ridiculous. I once got the questioning all mixed up be- 
cause I kept figuring that Japan was off the west coast of 
Korea. I don't know how I made that mistake. But I kept 
insisting on the west coast, even when I knew I was wrong. 
This systematic blunder saved me a lot of trouble. 

"I was kept in Pak's Palace two months. We had to do a 
terrific amount of labor, hauling wood and water for the 
Koreans. Then I was sent to Camp One at Chungsong, thirty 
miles southeast of Sinuiju, where organized indoctrination 
began. Here I met real collaborators for the first time. I saw 
some of our men leap up like animated puppets and appeal 
for signatures to peace petitions and urge the fellows to write 
letters to their relatives and friends, taking the Red side on 

"This p.o.w. camp wasn't marked, any more than the others 
I had been in. From the sky it looked like a regular military 
target, so our Air Force naturally bombed it. A main military 
road passed through the middle of camp, and a truck with 
headlights was approaching when our planes appeared. They 
saw only an obvious war target. One American officer was 

142 Brainwashing 

killed, several Americans and Britons were wounded, and I 
got a badly burned toe. This was meat for the collaborators. 
Right afterwards, they drew up protests against the bombing. 
The officers all refused to sign, except two or three. The 
sergeants, all Air Force reserves, refused, too. Funnily enough, 
the men who had been recalled from reserve stood up fine. 
Rank means a lot in captivity. The effect of even one officer 
signing was much, much worse than a lot of enlisted men 
doing so. 

"A couple of days after this, they took away all officers and 
sergeants. They told us we needed 'special education.' That 
meant worse brainwashing. 

"We were sent to Camp Two, which we opened, and where 
I remained until my release. Between 250 and 300 of us 
occupied a cold, unheated building. Indoctrination went into 
full swing and we were forced to go to classes. They gave us 
Red stuff written by Americans and ordered us to read it 
aloud. Study started before breakfast, with another class until 
noon. We then got an hour break, followed by a third class 
until dark. We had to spend the evening in discussion. 

"We were broken into groups at night and put into sepa- 
rate rooms, with a monitor in each who was supposed to 
record everyone's opinions. Each man had to write his 
thoughts and sign them. We hung together on those opinions. 
Some had been stinkers and known collaborators before com- 
ing into camp. The influence of the rest of us stopped their 
ratting, and they went along with the rest. We all stuck to- 
gether. We handed in a paper either marked 'no comment' 
or with something against them." 

He then added seriously, "I was kept busy, too, selling 

"What?" I exclaimed. 

"I was kept busy selling automobiles," he repeated with a 
grin. "Here's how it started. We talked a lot about what we'd 
do when we were free. We thought up marvelous ways of 
spending our accumulated pay. 'Be sure to come and see me 
when you want to buy a car,' I said to them at first. I wasn't 
joking. You don't joke about those matters in p.o.w. camps. 

Camp Life 143 

We were dead earnest. Either we were going to be alive or 
not. If alive, there were certain things we intended to do. 
One was own a car and drive it. A fellow would say to me, 
'Sure, I'll buy a car from you.' Then we'd go into a huddle. 
I'd do a salesmanship job, explaining the points of the vari- 
ous cars, and finally we'd reach an agreed price. 

''Autos were a continual subject of conversation in camp. 
It went so far that I thought about setting up an auto fleet 
plan for p.o.w.'s. If I made sufficient sales, it would pay the 
auto companies to give us a discount. I started taking names 
and listing the orders. I ended up with 550 sales. I had agents 
in other camps selling for me. This had a terrific effect. All 
day, whenever they had a chance, fellows talked about the 
car they had bought, the places they'd go with it, and the 
girls who'd go with them. They gave me exact instructions 
where to deliver the vehicles, which I had to note down on 
paper. The time we were supposed to be spending in the 
evening discussing the day's lectures we talked cars. The Reds 
noted how serious we were and how excited we got and never 
caught on why. This was just what we needed to rest our 
minds when some of us, at least, would have cracked from 
the strain of having to harp on the same Commie talk all 
the time." 

Just before repatriation, the Reds confiscated all notes and 
papers. They found Bob's list and grabbed it at once. 

Wilkins thought this wrecked his project. He couldn't re- 
member all the names and addresses and the car each man 
had chosen. But after he returned home, he was astonished 
to receive phone calls and letters from fellow repatriates. 
"Where's my car?" they wanted to know. They had bought 
a car in camp and wanted delivery! Bob went back to work 
right away, without any rest. He drove about with his wife, 
delivering cars to former campmates. 

Such affection for the automobile industry could not go 
unrewarded. Bob became district manager for one of the 
major companies. He called for me at my hotel before break- 
fast and drove me to a town called Plymouth, about an hour's 
drive outside Detroit, where he had a brief conference with 

144 Brainwashing 

a dealer. We spent the rest of the day in the Hillside Inn, in 
front of a welcome fire. A thin, last snow was falling. When 
evening came, he drove me to his home, which looked like 
a picture postcard. I stayed until early morning, still discuss- 
ing his experiences. The p.o.w. camps were far behind him. 
He was able to analyze his own feelings without passion. 

Battle of Wits 

Almost every p.o.w. whom I interviewed brought up, in 
some manner or other, the need for maintenance of a spirit 
of resistance in camp. Hope, on which men lived and for the 
lack of which they died, was intimately linked to such a spirit. 
The Reds fully appreciated this, and focused their slyest and 
most vicious pressures in killing any idea of resistance, and 
with it hope. 

They did succeed in crushing it, but never completely, and 
it had a way of appearing when least expected. 

"The first I knew that we were succeeding in creating a 
resistance group with some backbone was at an indoctrination 
lecture," one of the former p.o.w.'s told me. 

"The same routine was being played over. The communist 
speaker tediously described the Red point of view on some- 
dreary issue, and then he pointed to one of us in the audience 
and asked him to stand up and give his opinion." 

The men had learned through bitter experience to recog- 
nize this tactic. By it, the Reds found weaklings on whom 
they could work, screened out dissidents, and subtly managed 
to induce prisoners to indoctrinate themselves. When a man 
repeats something often enough, thinking up new ways in 
which to express it, although he may begin by disbelieving 
every word of it, he is likely to end up by swallowing a lot 
of it. 

The p.o.w. pointed to by the speaker stood up, barked out 
the two words, "No comment!" and sat down again. 

A monitor always was present to take notes, and everyone 
saw him recording this defiance. The indoctrinator pointed 

Camp Life 145 

to another man. "What is your opinion?" he asked. "Please 
be frank." 

This fellow got up, repeated the same words, "No com- 
ment," and sat down, too. 

"I felt someone tug gently at my sleeve," my informant told 
me. "I knew this had to be some sort of a signal, so I didn't 
turn my head, only nodded very slightly. Talking out of the 
side of his mouth, the man at my left whispered, 'Policy is, 
say No comment; pass the word along.' I couldn't begin to 
express to you the thrill that went through me as I did so. 
We were hitting back! You would have to have been in a 
place like that for all those months and months, in that at- 
mosphere of growing despair and hopelessness, to know what 
that meant to us. The lecturer tried once more with the same 

"Then he left the stage in a huff and returned a few min- 
utes later with the camp commander, who himself took the 
rostrum. This was it! 

"We stood firm. Everyone gave the same answer. And that 
was that. The commander kept on talking and didn't make 
an issue out of it. From then on, we always expected word 
on how to respond to Red orders and it always came. We now 
had an underground in our group." 

The p.o.w.'s had to learn this the hard way, out of their 
own resources of mind and physique. They learned that inde- 
cision and lack of determination were costly and even fatal 
drawbacks. In the beginning this new clandestine authority 
issued orders and afterwards modified or reversed them. Usu- 
ally this left someone out on a limb, to be badly mauled about 
by the Reds. "The effect on our morale was disastrous, not 
because of what the Reds did, but over our own lack of lead- 
ership," this chap said. "We saw that once an order was 
issued, it had to remain unchanged until new, positive in- 
structions were given. Halfway measures never worked. 

"The success of this tactic depended upon an officer cadre 
that knew its own mind and had the capacity for resistance. 
Feelings ran high in the camp when some of our fellows paid 
the price for orders changed from on top. As a result of our 

146 Brainwashing 

insistence, it was decided that from then on, when an order 
was given, the whole group would suffer rather than let a 
few individuals shoulder the blame. This gave the men a 
sense of destination. They felt they were getting somewhere." 

At one of the big meetings when all the units were to- 
gether, the head of a squad was called on from the platform 
and asked to stand up and give the opinion of his men on 
what the lecturer had been saying. He replied that he was not 
able to answer for his men's views. "Then find out," he was 
told. The squad leader sat down to consult them, while the 
entire audience waited tensely. An order was passed from 
man to man. He stood up again and replied, "They say, No 
comment." He had relayed this order himself. 

The p.o.w.'s had to learn to adapt their tactics to the 
enemy's. The only inflexible rule to which everything else 
had to be adjusted was that the objective was resistance. This 
was almost lost sight of at first due to inexperience and enemy 
blows. During the early period of activity, when the Red ob- 
jective was to soften up the men by striking sheer terror into 
them, the problem was one of survival. During those months, 
the Reds were only seeking excuses for mass mistreatment. 
Isolated cases of defiance, such as defiling a photo of Mao 
Tse-tung, only brought about collective punishment. Nobody 
could be permitted to go off the deep end this way by himself 

Later, when the stick was moved to the background and 
the carrot brought to the fore, the p.o.w.'s changed their tac- 
tics accordingly. Anyone who could think up a stunt was 
encouraged to do so, and if it sounded workable at all, the 
others would say, "Okay, I'm game. Let's try it." They ac- 
cepted the fact that the Reds probably would jump on some- 
body, paying little heed whether it was the right man or not. 
They accepted this for the sake of the morale effect on all. 
The communists fought back with canaries — the p.o.w. label 
for squealers. 

The most popular song in camp at one time was, "I'll Walk 
Alone." The Reds asked a company to stage a revue, hoping 
to infiltrate their own propaganda into it. The p.o.w.'s went 

Camp Life 147 

to work to beat them at this game. When "I'll Walk Alone" 
was sung, it was so loudly applauded that the Reds suspected 
it had political significance. They called in the prisoners in 
the usual one-by-one manner. **Is this some sort of a national 
anthem in your country?" they asked. They wouldn't believe 
that the song had just caught the fancy of the men, and so 
they banned it. The whole company rose in its defense. "I 
don't believe anyone outside can grasp the morale boost this 
gave us," a p.o.w. told me. 

The Reds were anxious that the prisoners form a choir, 
hoping to use it for pictures and radio propaganda. The 
p.o.w. 's threatened to break it up and not put on any more 
shows if the song was not reinstated. "On some things we won 
our point, but we never did on this," he said. "The Reds 
realized that somehow that song had become a symbol. But 
in the interim, we gained a lot of encouragement by sticking 
together and making a fight over it." 

The communists brought in their most important propa- 
ganda play, The White-Haired Daughter, hoping to follow 
it up with a regular tour of communist dramas. They put 
everything they had into it, with heavy curtains, real furni- 
ture, a machine to make snow and another to reproduce 
thunder and lightning. The play went on for four and a half 
hours. The p.o.w.'s simply applauded and hissed at the wrong 
places. In the thriller-diller scene where the landlord rapes 
the little slave girl, who of course is the daughter of a tenant 
farmer, the audience clapped wildly. The Reds were infuri- 
ated. They stopped the show and the chief indoctrinator took 
the stage and gave the prisoners a dressing down. Thereafter, 
whenever the landlord came on, everyone cheered. This was 
the first — ^and last — propaganda play the Reds brought into 

Such unity enabled the p.o.w.'s to block another Red 
propaganda maneuver. One day, all were called out and in- 
formed that arrangements had been made for them to write 
home. Everyone applauded, for this had been a major griev- 
ance. Many had not received a letter since their capture. A 
collaborator bounced up and said how grateful he was for this 

148 Brainwashing 

example of the "people's kindness," and he moved that every- 
one show gratitude by appealing to their families to join the 
"peace campaign" and write their Senators demanding that 
the U.N. forces stop at the Thirty-eighth Parallel. He asked 
everyone who agreed to stand up. He flopped down and 
leaped up again — ^and still was the only man on his feet. He 
thought he had been misunderstood and repeated his motion. 
Again nobody stood up. "Well, you'll not be able to write 
home," he exclaimed testily, and sat down. 

The p.o.w. defiance paid off. The Reds needed some mail 
by the prisoners for the record, and had tried to insert that 
extra propaganda in the bargain. When the men refused, 
they had to distribute the stationery anyway, and told every- 
one to write whatever he pleased. They tried a final trick, 
insisting that the return address be written as, "Chinese Com- 
mittee for World Peace Against American Aggression." The 
p.o.w. 's refused, and the Reds compromised by leaving out 
the "Against American Aggression" part. This was the first 
mail to reach home. 

Crazy Week 

Crazy Week was part of the spontaneous buffoonery by 
which the prisoners rattled the enemy and gave their own 
morale a lift. Bob Wilkins and Herb Marlatt both told me 
about it. Additional anecdotes were related by other partici- 
pants. They all agreed on the details. 

A particularly obnoxious brainwasher named Wei had the 
habit of bursting into the camp building long before dawn, 
switching on the light, and getting everyone up for another 
agonizing day of mental torture. This was in Camp Two, 
which was spread over a large area near the Yalu. Wei had 
come from Peking, where the Reds were conducting courses 
for inquisitors. They came in relays, a few weeks apart, bub- 
bling over with enthusiasm and venom. 

On this particular morning, while it was still dark, just 
before the brainwasher arrived, all the thirty-five prisoners 

Camp Life 149 

got up quickly. They grabbed their rags, tins, and miscellane- 
ous junk and dashed outside, hiding in the rear. There they 
waited, all lights still out. 

They heard the confident tread of the brainwasher, coming 
to start his day's routine. They saw him open the door, and 
a moment later the light went on in the empty house. They 
heard a yell and saw him rush out the door and down the 
pathway, as if pursued. 

As soon as he disappeared from view, they picked up all 
their pitiful belongings and ran back into the dormitory. 
They arranged everything normally as fast as they could. As 
they were supposed to be awake by now, most of them sat up 
wherever they were, chatting or playing with homemade 

Sure enough, after a few minutes, they heard a babble of 
voices, and Wei burst into the room, accompanied by his 
superiors and other staff men. The prisoners gazed at this 
delegation as if it were just one more inspection. 

"Where were you?" Wei roared. 

"Where was who?" someone asked. 

"You . . . you know who . . . you," Wei retorted. 

"What do you mean?" 

The Americans just stared dumbly. The silence could have 
been cut with a knife. Their eyes took on a puzzled look. 
Wei's colleagues stared questioningly at him, then at the 
prisoners, unable to make up their minds. The dormitory 
looked normal and everything was as it should be. 

"When I came here a few minutes ago, this room was 
empty," Wei shouted. "Where was everybody?" 

A p.o.w., without budging from his position on the gunny 
sack, turned his head and replied, "Where were you? Any- 
body can see where we've been." 

Wei's anger increased, which added to the confusion. He 
tried to explain to his Chinese escorts that there had been 
nobody in the room. He turned back to the prisoners and 
shouted, "How dare you say you were here all the time? I 
came here only a few minutes ago." 

150 Brainwashing 

"Say, mister, are you sure your eyes are all right?" a p.o.w. 
answered from one side of the room. 

"Maybe he needs glasses," another p.o.w. commented to a 
fellow prisoner. 

Before Wei could explode again, a sympathetic voice re- 
plied, loud enough for all to hear, "Maybe the poor man's 

"We've sure been here all the time," somebody else said. 

Another exclaimed, "Anybody with eyesight could see 
that." The act could not have been performed better in 

"I'm not blind!" Wei screamed. 

At that moment one of the tall Americans, who had been 
taking everything in quietly, fixed his eyes on Wei, and said 
in a voice full of hushed amazement, "Man, your job must 
be a strain! You're going crazy!" 

The Americans who joined in this buffoonery swear that 
he had to be removed from the camp before the week was 
ended, almost — if not already — a babbling idiot. This was 
brainwashing in reverse. 

Another stunt unnerved one of the indoctrinators so much 
that he showed the effects for the remainder of his stay. He, 
too, came into the barracks just before daybreak and turned 
on the switch. What he saw made him gasp, as if he were in 
the presence of some eerie congregation of ghosts. Everybody 
was up and about. Some were playing cards, others were read- 
ing propaganda booklets, a few were looking through the 
quisling-edited China Monthly Review. Several were sewing! 
All was being done in pitch darkness, without a word being 
spoken. Turning on the light made no difference. The 
p.o.w. 's didn't seem to notice it. The only difference now 
was that they spoke in hushed tones, which made the atmos- 
phere even more phantomlike. 

The stimulating effect this had on the p.o.w. 's can hardly 
be exaggerated. This was a time when the communists were 
exerting every subtle pressure they knew, along with the 
crudest forms of violence, to gather recruits for petitions and 
confessions. This was at the height of the germ-warfare cam- 

Camp Life 151 

paign, when Peking was insisting that the brainwashers pro- 
duce material that could be spread around the earth as proof 
of the charges. 

Never before had a hoax been perpetrated on such a mam- 
moth scale. No government before in history had ever lent 
its name to any accusation so bizarre and patently false. The 
p.o.w.'s were called out for "small group" meetings, where 
germ-warfare articles were read aloud. Everyone was called 
on to discuss them. Each man was asked if he believed the 
accusations. Some men said No point-blank. Others hesi- 
tated. The Reds were able to choose their potential quislings 
from those who wavered. 

An interval elapsed during which the Reds set the stage 
for the next act. When ready, with revealing synchronization, 
the Reds put on exhibitions of purported germ-warfare evi- 
dence and played the recordings of extorted confessions. 

The walls of one room were plastered with photographs of 
sick farmers and slogans denouncing the horrors of germ war. 
A long, narrow table was covered with exhibits, such as bac- 
teriological smears seen through microscopes, glass containers 
filled with insects, and rodents bottled in alcohol, which the 
Reds said were germ-laden and had been dropped by the 
American aviators. 

The Reds made sure that every man had to see the exhibi- 
tion, making it impossible for him not to pass by it. The only 
passage to the toilet was through this room! 

The brainwasher had something tangible to work on when 
he had provoked a p.o.w. into saying, "Sure that's a germ 
smear. I'm not so dumb as to think it isn't. But you probably 
made it yourself, just to fool us." 

The lecturer then either shifted to a new, softening-up 
charge, accusing the man of "a hostile attitude," or went into 
indoctrination, ignoring part of the prisoner's statement and 
putting all the emphasis on the rest. "Now you're being sensi- 
ble," he'd say. "You admit this is a germ smear. You see it. 
That's all we ask. Remember, if anybody asks, you saw this 
germ smear with your own eyes." Then he would build up 
from there, bit by bit, until the time came to apply the heat. 

152 Brainwashing 

to produce the final hallucinations during which the sleight- 
of-hand could be performed to extract the desired confession. 

Some of the p.o.w.'s tampered with the photos and slogans, 
so that the Reds had to post special sentries at the exhibits 
and keep them on duty day and night during the whole show. 

The germ-warfare drive never ceased. Whenever it seemed 
about to fade out, it would be revived at crescendo pitch. 
Peking was determined to keep the issue alive, and Moscow 
was evidently breathing down its neck for material that its 
diplomats and agents could disseminate through clandestine 
channels and by whatever overt means were available. 

Crazy Week took the sting out of it. The communists ap- 
peared baffled by it. A p.o.w. would show up outside his bar- 
racks, walk to the edge of the path, and go through a series 
of slow, solemn motions. The guards nearby and any Chinese 
or Koreans passing would stop and stare. The realization 
would suddenly come to them that he was riding a bicycle. 
Only he had no bicycle! The motions and glide were unmis- 
takable. Then, while the Reds were still stunned, not know- 
ing how to react, the fellow would ride his imaginary vehicle 
past the sentry, out the gate, and down the highway before 
they woke up to what he was doing. There would be yells 
and the rider would steer his phantom cycle to the edge of 
the road, get off, carefully rest it against a bush, and come up 
and ask if they wanted anything of him. The guard might 
just order him into the compound, smiling uncertainly, or 
take a swing at him. Either way, the Reds were not sure 
what this indicated. Was the fellow beginning to lose his 
mind? Men did go crazy in camp. How could they tell? 

There was the chap, for example, who twice in broad day- 
light, with the Chinese looking on, tried to escape in a madly 
futile manner. Was it crazy or real? Another time they found 
a p.o.w. two miles down the road, stopping people and ask- 
ing the direction to a nonexistent post office. He wanted his 
mail. Was this an act or an obsession? He was escorted back 
and the Reds decided he was going insane, while harmless. 

This was just what the fellow wanted. Insanity was faked 
on a number of occasions. For a man to get away with it, he 

Camp Life 153 

had to seize the opportune moment when the Reds were try- 
ing to give an impression of sweet reasonableness and not a 
time when they were resorting to sheer terror. 

The Reds never knew what to expect during Crazy Week. 
Extraordinary scenes confronted them, for which they had 
no precedent. What would Peking want? Punishment was 
swift and extreme for errors and mistakes were classified as 
sabotage. They would gape in embarrassed confusion at a 
captive walking down a pathway all by himself, yet with a 
feminine companion to whom he was conversing amiably. If 
a Chinese passed, he would introduce her. "Meet Jennie, my 
wife," he might say, or, "This is Susie, my girl." He would 
take her by the arm that wasn't there and walk on, still talk- 
ing. The p.o.w.'s even had petting parties in the moonlight, 
cuddling closer and talking sweet nonsense to no one. 

One day, in an interval between study periods, the Chinese 
saw everyone run out of the house and arrange themselves in 
a disciplined but mystifying way over the field. While the 
camp officials watched, the prisoners began to go through a 
series of convolutions, uttering strange cries. 

Suddenly one of the Chinese military men recognized the 
scene that takes place on the flight deck of an airplane carrier 
when planes are coming in and leaving. Men with out- 
stretched arms, like wings, represented the planes. Signalmen 
brought in the planes or sent them out on their missions. 
Everything was done with professional exactitude. There 
even was a helicopter, or rather the man who was the heli- 
copter, who was the star performer. He was a gifted mimic. 
He hovered about, hobbling like a copter. His grunts 
sounded exactly like one. He fluttered about as a plane came 
in, waiting to fly to its rescue if it tumbled into the drink. 
He had made himself a skullcap, with a small propeller de- 
sign on top, like a child's play hat. 

Once in a while a plane fell into the ocean. Off would go 
the helicopter on the rescue mission. This was all done so 
realistically, with each man going through his routine as if 
it were a real flight deck, that the communists simply were in 
a welter of indecision. They suspected it was a farce, but at 

154 Brainwashing 

whose expense? They could not imagine a joke except at 
someone's cost — someone had to lose face. A joke was a very 
serious matter. 

They called in the prisoners one by one and demanded an 
explanation of these goings-on. They just had to have signifi- 
cance. "What does it mean?" they demanded. None of the 
replies removed their feeling of unease. If they were told the 
truth, they were still worried. Their disquiet only stimulated 
the prisoners the more. 

Nobody who witnessed the helicopter change himself into 
a motorcycle will ever forget it. Chugging so realistically that 
passers-by jumped out of the way, he drove up and down the 
pathway. He ran errands for others in camp, solemnly board- 
ing his imaginary motorcycle and tearing away. He did so 
one day with a swift start — he liked his engine to be quick 
on the take-off — and ran smack into a brainwasher, sending 
him sprawling on the ground. The cyclist didn't lose his self- 
possession, but quickly picked up his imaginary machine and 
leaned it against the wall. 

They killed a rat one day, made a little parachute for it, on 
which they painted a skull and crossbones, and hung it on a 
bush. A Chinese noticed it and became very excited. "There's 
your evidence!" one of the p.o.w.'s exclaimed. "There's your 
proof that the Americans are engaging in bacteriological war- 
fare. That's one of the germ-laden beasties dropped from the 
skies. Don't touch it! You'll fall dead!" The official called a 
guard to get a stick and lift it gingerly down. 

In another hut, a rat was similarly disguised and hung up 
in the outside latrine. The Chinese indoctrinator who saw it 
had the Red Army sentry punished. The p.o.w.'s never knew 
whether Red anger would strike at them or pick a communist 

U.N. planes bombed the vicinity and thousands of tiny, 
shining bits of tinsel floated down. The p.o.w.'s knew it was 
tin foil intended to deflect enemy radar, but the Chinese 
didn't. They asked the prisoners. "Those are the germs 
you've been telling us about," one American said with a 
poker face. "That's how they're dropped." 

Camp Life 155 

Whoever made this spontaneous remark never imagined 
what propaganda use the Reds were going to make out of it. 
The next morning farmers from far and near, carrying chop- 
sticks and pails, gathered at a central spot. Each wore a hos- 
pital mask that covered his mouth and nose, and was made 
even more grotesque by a coating of some reddish disinfectant 
painted on his arms up to the elbows. The p.o.w.'s saw the 
peasants scatter over the fields and hunt for bits of tin foil. 
The Americans had a hard time to keep from bursting into 
laughter as they watched them inspect every inch of ground, 
every so often thrusting in their chopsticks and picking up a 
tiny bit of something, which they dropped cautiously into 
their pails. The scene was like a slow, macabre dance across 
the horizon. 

Some of the Chinese air officers must have known, but kept 
quiet so as not to be accused of trying to defend germ war- 
fare. Ordinary folk were evidently deceived, and this, of 
course, was the Red purpose. Everyone went grimly through 
the motions. 

Of a different character was the spontaneous reaction of an 
American p.o.w. whose group had been scoffing at the germ- 
warfare charges. The next day the lecturer brought some of 
the purported evidence with him, including a container of 
supposedly infected insects. Before anyone realized what he 
was doing, the soldier plucked a bug out of the container 
and swallowed it. 

Immediately there was a hullabaloo. The Chinese propa- 
gandists went rushing about insisting he was certain to die, 
doubled up in pain, and rushed him off to a hospital. "Give 
your hospital bed to someone who needs it; I don't," he pro- 
tested. He had to go. He was returned after several weeks of 

His quick thinking and defiance of the foe made this one 
of the grandest incidents of the war. How could anyone who 
heard of it give any credence to anything the Reds told them? 
If they were capable of this deceit, they were capable of any- 




Major David F. MacGhee knew Barnum's axiom, "Never 
give a sucker an even break," and he soon realized that the 
communist version in the p.o.w. camps was, "Never give a 
prisoner a break." He countered with his own, "Never give 
the enemy a break." Dave saw that the moment a man let his 
guard down, he was knocked for a loop. He learned, from his 
own experiences, that a soft word by a Red was just as much 
of a weapon as a slap in the face. He saw that survival de- 
pended on opposing one tactic by another and that special 
weapons of the mind had to be used in brain warfare. 

Alan Winnington sidled up to him one day while he was 
standing outside a barracks, surrounded by camp officials. 
"Would you like a cigarette?" the quisling asked him. What 
a question! "I sure could do with one," Dave exclaimed, 
staring with fascination at the full package which Winning- 
ton took out of his pocket. With everyone watching, Win- 
nington tossed it on the ground in front of Dave's feet. 

Every face now turned toward him. He noted the glitter 
in Winnington's eyes, and realized that this was part of the 
game. Dave didn't bend down to pick up the package. In- 
stead, he moved one heel slowly, so everyone could see it, 
and ground the cigarettes into the dirt. 

He fully expected to be smashed in the jaw by one of the 
onlookers or whacked with the butt of a rifle. He had cal- 
culated, in a split second, that he wouldn't be killed for 
what he was going to do but would probably be knocked 
about a bit. He sensed that this humiliation to which he was 


158 Brainwashing 

being subjected was the purpose of the casual sympathy trap 
into which he had been led. He saw that Winnington was 
trying to show his Asian comrades how easy it was to humble 
the white man — an American, too. Dave sensed in that fleet- 
ing moment that nothing the Reds would do could be so 
painful and dishonorable in its consequences as his lot if he 
bent down in front of them all and abjectly picked up the 
package of cigarettes. 

Dave was able to react swiftly because his views had crystal- 
lized long before he went to Korea. "They can be expressed 
very simply," he told me. "Anything worth having is worth 
fighting for." 

After his release, Dave returned from Korea with the cer- 
tainty that the development of strong leadership qualities 
was the main requirement in combatting Red corrosion tac- 
tics. This conclusion came out of his own character and the 
environment in which he had been raised as much as out of 
his experience in p.o.w. camps. As a prisoner, he had merely 
continued along the road pointed out to him from his boy- 
hood by parents, church, and school. 

When only three, he had a habit of wandering away from 
home in Moorestown, New Jersey, which then had a popula- 
tion of only 4,000. His parents took him to Dr. Robert Brote- 
markle, dean of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, 
to find out how to break him of it. The professor recom- 
mended they let the boy go if he wanted. "Don't worry, he'll 
always come back home," he told them. 

In less than a year, Dave was known everywhere within a 
twenty-five mile radius. "I went out whenever there was a 
fire alarm or any excitement," he said. "I wanted to see 

His father, whom Dave fondly described as a "self-educated 
hillbilly from the Great Smoky Mountains area in North 
Carolina," was an inventor and a chemical engineer. He was 
without any money sense. His joy came from discovery; he 
lost interest as soon as he had solved a problem, no matter 
whether it was for a dishwasher, potato peeler, packaging 
machine, or dehydrated food. "Dad's creations for the rising 

The Independent Character 159 

five-and-ten-cent store industry made home as exciting as the 
great outdoors," Dave said. "He produced everything from 
modeling clay to plant fertilizer." 

The stock market crash wiped out the family's capital and 
Dave had to be transferred from private to public school. His 
principal become so interested in him that she raised sub- 
scriptions for a scholarship so he could go back. He had 
planned to be a chemical engineer like his father, but she 
advised against it. "If you go into engineering, you'll never 
be happy," she said. "You should make people your career." 
So he switched to political science, which he thought came 
closer to that objective. 

While studying, a forum was arranged at Cornell Univer- 
sity to discuss how a democratically minded citizen should 
react during a war. Dave was picked as one of the delegates. 
He told me that he wrote a ten-point program which he pre- 
sented to the forum, which urged a stiff policy against the 
Chinese Reds, for even then he smelled something fishy in 
the fiercely publicized line that Mao Tse-tung was only pur- 
suing a program of agrarian democracy. He also recom- 
mended wartime controls. Many of the other delegates took 
verbal shots at him, branding him everything from an irre- 
sponsible radical to a blind reactionary. 

"This convinced me that leading figures in our country 
did not realize that there was a fight coming," Dave said, "so 
I decided to prepare myself for it. I enlisted." 

He almost didn't make it. There was a bureaucratic jumble 
on the alphabetical list of names and, somehow, he edged 
through as a MacGhee and not a McGhee, which was the 
original spelling. "I was determined to get into the Air Force 
and there were no ifs nor ands about it," he said. 

The attacks made on him at the forum for his ten-point 
program influenced him greatly. Did he, a student, have the 
right to take such a firm stand on matters that his elders 
seemed to have already decided? He said he thought deeply 
about this, and came to the conclusion that there was a dis- 
tinction between confidence and conceit that would have to 
be his guide. "To have self-confidence was very different from 

1 6o Brainwash ing 

being a conceited ass," he said. "A confident man knows what 
he can do. He doesn't commit himself to the impractical, but 
to what is achievable." 

He brought this principle with him into the p.o.w. camps 
in Korea and it contributed greatly to his survival, he be- 

He was commissioned a navigator in 1942 and sent to Eng- 
land. At the end of the war he was the only captain in his 
class at the Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leaven- 
worth, Kansas. He was stationed in the Pentagon from 1946 
to 1949, receiving "triple threat training," and then went to 
the A-bomb and strategic war-plans staff. He volunteered for 
Korea when that war broke out, reaching Okinawa on Sep- 
tember 22, 1950. He was shot down on November 10 while 
on his tenth mission. He believes his was the first B-29 shot 
down by a MIG-15. 

After his release, he heard that there had been consterna- 
tion in the Pentagon when he was known to have fallen be- 
hind the enemy lines. Dave knew too much. "I was told that 
thirty Korean agents were dropped in a straight line to bring 
me out, dead or alive," he said. 

The Reds never found out that he had once headed a 
military-aid program for Chiang Kai-shek, or that he had any 
knowledge of A-bomb activities, electronics, and the latest 
long-range warplanes. "The position I maintained through- 
out," he said, "was that I was a drunken, irresponsible bas- 
tard who was being kept by a rich and influential woman. 
The Air Force, I led them to believe, had tried to get rid of 
me several times, but my wife had pulled strings to keep me 
in. Nevertheless, I let them think, they had succeeded in 
shifting me off to Korea. 

" 'I'm not worried about being captured,' I cockily told 
them, 'My wife's connections will get me out of here.' 

"Would they give my story any credence? They did — they 
knocked me on my backside. I still don't know what hit me, 
but I expected something. I knew that I was going to have to 
pay a price to get away with that story." 

When I asked how he knew how far he could go, his reply 

The Independent Character 161 

showed how he regulated his life by a set of principles and 
personal hunches. "I never had any doubt that I would live," 
he said. "When I went to Korea, I left America with the 
conviction that I was going to get clobbered. To what degree, 
I didn't know. On the plane out, I joshed the crew about 
reserving a lower right forward stretcher bunk for me for 
the return trip. A little squirt of a nurse couldn't understand 
me at all. She thought I was a quitter. She was so infuriated 
that she hauled off and slugged me. I shook my jaw and 
solemnly told her, 'But I get sick when I ride on the tail.' 
She just couldn't make me out! I knew the war was going 
to bang me up, but there never was any question in my mind 
whether I was going to live. I was sure of it. So I was able to 
take the right chances. That cock-and-bull story about my 
wife, who really is a simple, good-hearted girl, was one of 

He built up the portrait of his character as a man con- 
sidered by his superiors too much of a security risk to let 
know hardly anything. "I let a story get to the Reds, that I 
had made up, how I hadn't been trusted enough even to be 
allowed to visit some friends of mine who had just bailed out 
of a B-36 and been rescued." 

Canaries threatened his pose on three occasions. One such 
squealer was an electronics officer who had worked under 
him. He told the enemy all he knew, then suggested they 
check it with Dave. "This was at Pyoktong, Camp Five," he 
told me. "A Chinese officer named General Wang took over 
my case for personal handling. He brought me into his own 
house and gave me a terrific build-up, saying he knew how 
much I could tell them. He gave me a package of cigarettes 
a day and terrific food, with candy in the evening. I had never 
been treated so royally before. I even got special snacks of 
Chinese mooncakes. 

"I had what was made to seem like unlimited personal free- 
dom. I could ask for anything I wanted. They treated me as 
one of themselves, only better. It was September, 1951. 

"I knew I was in a trap, and that I would have to make 
use of this respite to figure out a plan to get out of it with- 

] 62 Brainwashing 

out being shot. They didn't ask me any questions the first 
week. They only told me what they knew themselves. They 
gave me interpreters who spoke flawless English, three from 
Peking and one from Tientsin. During this period, I built 
up the impression that I hadn't known about the material 
they showed me, nor the man who had given it to them. I 
told them that while stationed at Okinawa, I was being taught 
to use radar for navigation, and that if I hadn't been shot 
down, I would have learned how to use it in bombing. I 
changed my role from instructor to dumb student. Actually, 
I had been an instructor in advanced bombing radar. 

"I assured them that I would do everything I could to help 
them within my limited knowledge, and that when I didn't 
know something, I would make the best guess I could at it if 
that was what they wanted from me. 

"General Wang was a Chinese Air Force man, young and 
quite brilliant. The Korean house he had taken over was 
much better than the average. 

"In the second week, I was requested to write everything I 
knew about electronics, and particularly to draw diagrams of 
equipment, indicating its characteristics and how it was used. 
They asked me for everything I knew on the theory of search 
radar or any other kind. I was given a good typewriter and 
plenty of paper and drawing tools. I was left to my own 
initiative, under the general supervision of one of the in- 
terpreters. All he did was pile up what I had written each day. 

"I had to work prescribed periods of time, and I used up as 
much of it as I could reading books. I made meticulous draw- 
ings of a radar APQ-13 that everyone knew about. I denied 
the existence of newer models, saying this was one of the 
latest. On each of the drawings I misnamed and mislocated 
the controls. They had the equipment itself from a B-29. I 
had given myself an objective and I fixed my mind on it. 
That was to give them the idea that my drawing was the 
improved version, when actually it was the original and al- 
most totally out of use. 

"Wang had to leave two days before I finished my work. 
In a good-by visit, he came and thanked me and said that he 

The Independent Character 163 

had made sure that as soon as I finished, my material would 
be forwarded to him. 

"I worked in an apparently thorough manner for three 
weeks, completing a forty-two-page document in duplicate. I 
ate and lived well all that time. After handing all this in, I 
sat back comfortably waiting for the blast I knew was coming. 

"It came in three days. Wang returned in a rage. He 
charged me with trying to cheat the 'peace-loving people.' I 
went at once into an histrionic routine that I had planned in 
advance. I did my best to look like a child caught with jam 
smeared all over his face. With a final roar about me having 
wasted the people's paper, he stalked off, leaving the inter- 
preter to continue the threats and expound on the horrors of 
my future punishment. 'You'll never see your family again,* 
he told me. 'You're going to be shot. Wang is getting the 
approval of headquarters. The only place for people like you 
is in a dungeon. People who try to cheat peace-loving people 
don't deserve to live. You only think you're sly and cunning. 
You're really not very clever.' 

"That night, at eleven p.m., I got up and turned on the 
light. I let my blackout curtain drop and opened my door, 
so everyone could see me. I took paper I had saved for this 
occasion, and sat down and started writing. Within a few 
minutes, several interpreters came and demanded to know 
what I was doing. I told them I was writing a self-criticism. 
They hadn't anticipated that! They looked surprised but 
said this was very commendable and that as soon as I finished, 
I should bring it to them. 

"I wrote a three-page self-criticism in which I pointed out 
the innumerable times I had insisted that I knew nothing 
about electronics. I enumerated, step by step, the many things 
General Wang had done to build up my ego. I elaborated on 
how I had to give him something that appeared impressive, 
to save face. So I lumped together the little I knew and had 
heard during my years in the Air Force, and what I had read 
in our magazines, and tried to produce as impressive a paper 
as I could. I said humbly how I realized that I had been very 
deceitful in writing that paper, and how I had wasted their 

164 Brainwashing 

time and their scarce materials. I recalled that I had insisted 
time and again that I didn't know anything, but my admira- 
tion for General Wang required that I present him with some 
sort of a paper, doing my utmost to match the superior quali- 
ties he attributed to me. I had gambled on his ignorance and 
lost, and hoped he would not think unkindly of me, but that 
really I was only a stupid person and a ready victim of flat- 
tery. In the future, I promised to control myself so as not to 
waste the time and efforts of the leaders of the peace-loving 

"I finished this about two a.m., and then asked for more 
paper so I could copy it out, as my emotions had made it 
illegible. Instead, they took it straight to General Wang. At 
three-thirty a.m., he summoned me to his office, receiving me 
like a long-lost brother. He kept me almost to dawn, sub- 
jecting me to every form of communist ideological argument. 
The company commander and all the interrogators were 
present. They cooked pork, chicken, rice, and fried eggplant, 
treating me like a prodigal son. Then they told me to go 
back to my room and, after getting some sleep, to study 
harder. Wang shook hands with me and said he hoped to see 
me again soon. 

"And that was that! The fellow who had got me into this 
jam died after Wang went to work on him for lying. He had 
to pay the price for Wang's humiliation. I am positive that 
a guilty conscience helped kill him. He did not die because 
of what the Chinese did to him, but of a broken heart. 

"The reason he had broken was because he couldn't stand 
solitary confinement. He had been separated from all the 
other white men. He had two Asians — his interpreter and 
guard — with him all the time, yet he felt completely alone!" 


Dave had two other crises when canaries were almost his 
undoing. "An officer, desiring to take the heat off his own 
back, informed the Reds in writing that every statement I had 

The Indepeyident Character 165 

given them was a lie," Dave said. "This fellow advised an- 
other U.S. air officer not to follow my example because it 
would only lead to trouble. The Commies landed on me like 
a ton of bricks and I knew this was going to be a bad time." 

Dave had built up a fanciful story about himself so they 
could discount his reliability and had given them fabricated 
data to put them off the trail of where his real knowledge 
lay. He had worked at its construction brick by brick. He 
knew well enough that nothing infuriated the Reds more 
than to discover they had been made game of. Horrible tor- 
tures had been meted out to many men for "cheating the 
people," as they called this. A quick execution was preferable 
to the alternative of a slow death by cunning tortures. In 
cases such as his, he realized that it would be one or the other. 

The shock of this betrayal came suddenly, too. Everything 
that he had planned with such infinite care was now at stake. 
How was he going to get out of this fix? He wrestled all night 
with the problem. The next morning, as soon as his Chinese 
interpreter saw him, he exclaimed, "Comrade MacGhee, you 
have changed!" 

"I was feeling so tense that I can still see the entire scene," 
MacGhee told me. "I can see the water dripping from the 
roof into a puddle outside. Plop, and a drop fell, spreading 
circles on the surface. I can see it just as clearly as then. 

" *No, I haven't changed,' I said, wondering what he 

" 'MacGhee, have you seen yourself?' he replied. 

"I tried to laugh. 'How in heck can I see myself?' I asked. 
He took a small round mirror from his pocket and held it in 
front of me. 

"One look and I knew that I was headed for even more 
serious trouble. My hair had turned gray overnight! Sheer 
strain had done it. Worry did it, worry because I knew that 
I was only one fellow, and the fraction of an error could 
destroy everything I had built up. The canary had them 
breathing down my back for what I knew, furious over hav- 
ing been fooled. 

"During the next seven months, from February to August, 

i66 Brainwashing 

during constant interviewing, re-interrogation, and ideologi- 
cal indoctrination, I succeeded in re-establishing my integrity 
as irrefutable, to use their own word for it. I was able to 
explain the change in my appearance by the strain of waiting 
for the camp commander to sentence me on a charge they 
had already made against me. They had accused me of what 
they called 'hostile and subversive organized activity within 
the camp.* Actually, this was no worry to me at all compared 
to the other problem. 

"My main tactic in beating them this time was to remem- 
ber every single word I had said or written for them, and 
writing it all over again, with convenient allowances for for- 
getting! I wrote 480 pages! The only mistake they were able 
to find was where I had reversed two phony names in a phony 
organizational chart. All this time, I was kept in solitary in a 
room in a Korean house. 

"I had no sense of loneliness and even relished being alone. 
My gray hairs gradually went away. I kept myself busy. I 
relaxed by focusing on anything that could take my mind off 
the Reds. I observed everything possible. I made a study of 
how a fly lands on the ceiling. Does he do a loop or does he 
fly up, roll over, and hook on with his first two feet and then 
swing his body up? I examined what spiders do when non- 
edible matter entered their webs. When a chicken jumps off 
the roof, what lands first, his fanny or his feet? When a hen 
is laying an egg, does she go to sleep? I saw some hornets drill 
a hole in the wall, so I rolled up a small piece of paper, 
finally finding a place where it fooled one of them. Two weeks 
later I took the paper down to see what the hornet had been 
doing. He had done a plaster job." 

MacGhee pointed out the importance of keeping busy. He 
found that when a man gives himself an objective and con- 
centrates on it, he keeps busy. "Escape can become such an 
objective," he said. "This becomes a passion to live by. You 
think about it always. When caught, you observe local con- 
ditions and whatever else might help you get away. When 
called for an interrogation, you don't worry over it because 
you don't think of it as an interrogation. You're busy think- 

The Independent Character 167 

ing about the maps you might get a chance to see and what 
you can steal. 

"I also took every opportunity to make friends with the 
guard," he went on, "so as to learn and practice some 
Chinese. Guards and others sometimes would teach me 
Chinese if I taught them a bit of English. I taught pronuncia- 
tion to the interpreters and once I gave lessons to a medical 
corpsman on the names of medicines in English. In turn he 
taught me the phonetics of characters I had copied down. 

"A Korean family still occupied part of the house. I 
grabbed every opportunity to help the old couple, even when 
the guard got angry about it. Then I'd say to him, in the 
properly pained intonation, 'Nee dee boo how' — ^you're not 
being good. When addressing the Koreans, I always used the 
few words I had picked up in their own language. I wouldn't 
have used any Japanese in talking to them for anything in 
the world. I wouldn't hurt their feelings that way. The result 
was that they smuggled food, matches, and tobacco to me. I 
called this Operation Wedge, and it gave me a sense of 

"I tried to earn their respect in a thousand ways. One of 
their relatives died, and the family had a weeping ceremony 
that lasted six weeks, with gnashing and wailing. Whenever 
one of those scenes took place, I'd go into my room and close 
the door. When the wailing was over for the day, I'd open 
my door a little, and the old woman would nod that it was 
all right for me to come out. No, I was given no chance to be 
bored during my isolation." 

Yet this so-called isolation was one of the pressures that led 
Colonel Schwable to confess to germ warfare. He became 
desperate in his desire to get back among his fellow p.o.w.'s. 
He couldn't stand "loneliness." 

The result of Dave's Operation Wedge, too, was that the 
guard finally let him grind corn for the old lady. "I made a 
point of doing it in the worst weather," he said. Although 
this was a tiny operation, he saw it widen the gap between her 
as a Korean and the Chinese communist. She had friends, 
too, to whom she must have spoken about this helpful Amer- 

i68 Brainwashing 

ican. Such small things all helped keep his mind busy and 
boosted his morale. 

He needed all the stamina he had gathered, too, for his 
final canary crisis as a p.o.w. An observer in the electronics 
field caused it, Dave said. "He had a V.I.P. complex. He 
wasn't important to us, and had to be to someone and only 
the Reds were left. The only way he could be important to 
them was to give them something they didn't have. He was 
an intelligent man but he spilled his guts. They needed some- 
one to verify the truth of what he had told them, especially 
about designing computers. They brought me his completed 
work, telling me he had said I was an expert at it. 

*'By that time I had been a p.o.w. for two years and had 
successfully established the integrity of my position. I ex- 
amined the documents thoroughly and then asked my in- 
terpreter, who had been interrogating B-29 personnel for a 
long time, 'How can you be sucked in by such a stupid piece 
of work? You surely should be able to detect such baloney.' I 
told him that even to have it was risking his life if his su- 
periors ever found out how he had been fooled. We talked 
this over for two hours and I convinced him. He asked plain- 
tively what I thought he should do. 'Really, it's none of my 
business, as I'm an officer in the Air Force,' I replied. 'As a 
matter of fact, the smart thing for me to do' — I said this as if 
it were an offside remark — 'would be to hint to your superiors 
that you have such a document, and that they should get a 
look at it. But you've been good to us, and you've even got 
some of our sick men into a hospital. So my honest advice is 
that you dig a hole, burn this document in it, and cover it 
up. Do it during chow period. It's almost a mile to where we 
eat and the Korean family will still be out in the fields, so 
nobody will see. As you're my friend, you can be sure I 
won't tell.' He burned it up. 

"The fellow who welched was returned to the p.o.w. com- 
pound the next day and was never interrogated again. He 
was miserable because we let him know we had no use for 
him any more. He was isolated by the boys." 

They came to Dave about germ warfare one day and de- 

The Independent Character 169 

manded he write something about it. He did. He wrote that 
it was contrary to the principles of the U.S. He added that 
he himself saw no reason why America shouldn't use it, that 
he wouldn't hesitate using it himself, but that he was sure 
the U.S. hadn't done so. He was serving a three-month jail 
sentence at the time, and they doubled it to six months for 
this frank opinion. 


When it came to giving a true picture of the mental convo- 
lutions and the circuitous thinking that the communists set in 
motion to break down minds, I came up against the same 
hurdle with Dave as with the others I had interviewed. You 
soon lost yourself in circles. When you tried to straighten out 
the crazy logic, to make it intelligible, you no longer pre- 
sented an accurate account. The upside-down talk and the 
twisted thinking was what did the trick for the Reds. Making 
it plain was like trying to show someone the jitterbug by 
dancing the waltz and saying this was it, only hopped up. 

Efforts to simplify Red argument or change the semantics 
into plain English defeated your purpose. Unless a reader is 
willing to plow through the jungle of Red verbiage, he can- 
not get a picture of what it really is. 

The most critical stress that Dave went under was this 
tricky and subtle mental subversion. His case was typical. 
He went through actual physical agony over it. 

The Reds had found that the easiest way to subdue any 
group of people was to give its members a guilt complex and 
then to lead them on from self-denunciation to self-betrayal. 
All that was required to put this across was a sufficiently 
heartless exploitation of the essential goodness in people, so 
that they would seek self-sacrifice to compensate for their 
feelings of guilt. The self-sacrifice obviously made available 
to them in this inside-out environment is some form of 

Dave obtained some very shaking examples of this and 
needed every bit of his mental agility to keep his balance. 

170 Brainwashing 

Not the least of the difficulty was that every negative, dirty 
demand was camouflaged in a thick sugar-coating of pious 
and patriotic expression. How were men, still mostly in their 
teens, at most in their thirties, who had made plain talk 
second nature, to see through such artifices? Of course, when 
a man knows what to expect, the entire situation changes. 

Dave found simple incidents the most threatening to one's 
equilibrium. He tore his padded coat and asked his guard 
for needle and thread. Sewing the hole, he noticed a tear on 
the guard's trouser leg and offered to sew it at the same time. 
The guard refused, saying simply, "We're allowed to do 
things for you, but we're not permitted to let you do any- 
thing for us." 

Dave insisted, saying, "Don't worry, nobody will see me do 
it." The guard finally gave in, but when Dave was halfway 
finished, ran to the door to see if anyone was coming. 

A few days later he didn't show up and was replaced by 
another. "Where's the other fellow?" Dave asked. 

The reply stunned him. "He confessed at the self-criticism 
meeting on Sunday to letting one of the prisoners sew his 
uniform," the replacement said. "He's been broken from 
headquarters squad to rifleman." 

Such examples, repeated infinitely, were more effective for 
the Red propagandists than all their political haranguing. 
This peasant sincerity was being callously exploited by a 
political faith — communism — that had adopted all the over- 
tones of religion and ethics. This, too, was bait to trap the 
p.o.w.'s. Dave gave me other examples. "You would see a de- 
tachment coming in dead tired after training all day. They 
would see the old farmer and his wife still working on the 
hillside. 'Let's go up and help her,' someone would say, and 
up they all would go. Things like that do something to you." 

Of course it wasn't noticed that political commissars in the 
ranks directed these activities. The fact that everyone was 
being worn out mercilessly in a grind like a rat race was 
concealed by the complexion of self-help and mutual help. 

A typical instance of the unprincipled exploitation of even 
tender emotions was provided by one of the guards who had 

The Independent Character 171 

been shanghaied into the Communist Eighth Route Army 
when only twelve. He had never known anything except a 
Red environment and was convinced by constant indoctrina- 
tion that, like a parent who sometimes is kind and sometimes 
punishes, everything the Reds did to him was for his own 
good. Dave happened to be at the guardhouse one day when 
a political functionary came up with a flourish and handed 
this man the first letter he had received from his family in 
several years. He hadn't known whether they were still even 

Immediately there was a terrific celebration by the little 
group. Everyone congratulated him. Grateful praise was 
voiced to the People's Liberation Army and to Mao Tse-tung 
for giving him the letter. Nobody mentioned that instead of 
being thanked, they should have been denounced for cutting 
off simple family communications this way. The guard ad- 
mitted he had often written and the letter mentioned efforts 
to write to him! The communists have created a very re- 
numerative tactic out of depriving a man heartlessly of his 
just dues and then, with a great show of generosity, giving 
him back a wee bit of what was coming to him all along. 

Dave had to keep his wits about him every second. He saw 
fellow p.o.w.'s get into serious trouble when they had only 
been trying to be polite. A man would say, "You're a fine 
fellow," and be accused of being insulting because he pointed 
when he said it. This was called showing a "hostile attitude." 

"The Reds were constantly on watch for some excuse to 
charge you with having a hostile attitude, and when they got 
the slightest chance, squeezed every bit of advantage they 
could get out of it," Dave said. "When anyone would say 
something to them with conviction and they couldn't refute 
it otherwise, they were quick to retort, 'You have a hostile 
attitude.' This took them off the hook and put you on it. 

"Another opening the Reds eagerly waited for was loss of 
temper. This was a major crime in their book. Once when 
they started on the germ-warfare charges I became angry and 
shouted that they were a pack of lies. I was reported to my 
interpreter, who ignored what I had said about their lying 

172 Brainwashing 

but only accused me of losing my temper. They gave me a 
rough time for it, letting me know I could receive up to a 
two-year prison sentence." 

I asked Dave to be more specific about the mental agony 
the men suffered. What brought it about, he said, was not 
worry over one's own motivation, but a feeling of futility 
and frustration in attempting to combat the communists' 
upside-down logic. Deprived of background material, a man 
was at a tremendous disadvantage. They would mention spe- 
cific cases, and the data they offered as a proof usually 
sounded slanted or faked, but how was a person to prove it? 
The Reds determined, through their controlled environ- 
ment, just what facts — ^and what lies — would be given the 

Dave said one argument was critical for him. "I had made 
the point," he recalled, "that the communist leaders promised 
one thing and did another, that they cheated the people and 
generally were no good. Instead of answering these charges, 
they ignored them completely and switched the whole dis- 
cussion to another level entirely. Whenever you were trapped 
in this way, you were in for difficulty." 

The indoctrinator told Dave: "Under our educational sys- 
tem, we are training people to accept the concept of the 'new 
socialist man.' When we have created this new socialist man, 
he will know and value only the principles that represent the 
best that communism advocates. Our present leaders may 
not be acting in accord with those principles. But when 
500,000,000 people know only those principles, our leaders 
will be forced to act according to them because no force on 
earth can keep 500,000,000 people in submission." 

Since then, the official Chinese communist census has 
claimed a population of more than 600,000,000 and steadily 

"This is like a circle," the indoctrinator said. "We use a 
bad man to teach people good ideas. Once the people learn 
those good ideas, they will demand that their bad leaders live 
by their principles. They will rid themselves of their evil 

The Independent Character 173 

leadership and establish a control that will abide by the 
good ideas." 

The cleverness in this argument, too, was that it presented 
a mirage to their own people who were dissatisfied with Red 
leadership, persuading them to be patient and they would 
soon reach this oasis when they would be able to change 
things for the better. This was a safe outlet for subversive 

The statement was packed, of course, with double-talk and 
double- think. The essential points were just left out entirely. 
Inferentially, this set the sights at half a billion "new Soviet 
men." How were Dave and his fellow prisoners to know any- 
thing about the Pavlovian theory, with its bestial, clinical 
basis for this human being who is to be given a changed 
nature? Unless they knew about it, how could they offer any 
judgment or make up their minds intelligently? 

**My knowledge was too limited to reply properly," Dave 
frankly admitted. "When you had no facts to go on, their 
argument appeared logical and was hard to counter. Yet we 
had to answer at once. This was part of the rules. We were 
supposed to make up our minds without knowing the facts. 
You couldn't avoid this situation. 

"I kept asking myself what the loophole was in this argu- 
ment. This built up into a terrific mental problem for me. I 
had concluded that I was bound only by allegiance to my 
own mind. This, I was confident, would be a sure enough 
guide under those pressures. All other loyalties, I felt, neces- 
sarily emanated from that source. I was in real agony." 

He had been lured into a position that exposed him to the 
enemy while depriving him of any support by his own side. 
"The Commies were playing for big stakes," Dave said. "I 
had in my safe-keeping important pieces of knowledge regard- 
ing nuclear weapons, electronics, advanced heavy bombers, 
and strategic war plans. I felt that I was responsible to my 
own conscience that I throw my weight the right way. This 
was a critical ideological problem that I struggled through 
all alone." 

Actually, he did not have to do so, because it was a trap 

174 Brainwashing 

and he was under no compulsion to go into it, any more than 
a man is required to go on playing dice if he knews they've 
been loaded. But how was he and others in his position to 
appreciate this? They were babes in the psychological woods. 
They had been taught everything except what this was all 
about. Instead, they went back for guidance to their liberal 
teachings of American educational life. This had taught them 
only that one must always listen to the other fellow's argu- 
ment and always be on the side of the underdog. Of course, 
the assumption was that the other fellow, too, wanted to ex- 
change ideas and that the underdog was only a man in a less 
fortunate situation, holding the same ideals as oneself. Dave 
was up against a strategy deliberately devised to make one 
point of view rigid at all costs, which considered it to be 
"sentimentalism" and therefore criminal not to take advan- 
tage of weakness. 

"Beria was liquidated about that time," Dave recalled. "I 
brought this up in a little group of Chinese guards. They 
came right back at me, presenting Beria's execution as part 
of a pattern for the development of this 'new Soviet man.' 
This conception seemed to fit any of their awkward positions! 
I had no idea of the dirty intrigues that surrounded the case. 
We were only told that it was a glorious example of how 
communism expelled its cheating leaders. That got me into 
a state of mind when I asked myself whether this was a law 
of society or whether it could be made into a law of society. 

"Mind you, those who argued this way with me were not 
the indoctrinators but kids eighteen to twenty maybe. They 
were parroting propaganda they had been fed, but coming 
from their mouths, it was a most effective form of persuasion. 
The plain people, once taken in, were the strongest apostles 
of communist ideology. They were much more convincing 
than the regular lecturers." 

The tussle for his mind revolved more and more around 
one philosophical point. Could A sometimes be B, if only for 
a moment? If he could be made to admit this, the Reds were 
confident the rest would follow. But Dave insisted at all 
times that A was A, and when it was B, it was no longer A. 

The Independent Character 175 

His ability to stick to that principle saved him from collapse 
in spite of the manner in which he had been trapped into 
agonizing discussion with the information and power all on 
one side, the enemy's. 

The Reds used not only verbal arguments, but physical 
ones, too, and at the same time! They put Dave into a bath- 
house where they tried to freeze him into submission. The 
bathhouse had been built by the Japanese when they ran 
Korea as a colony. An indoctrinator whom Dave knew as 
General Ding Chan used both these forms of persuasion on 

"One night they suddenly woke me up in this freezing 
bathhouse to give me the first letter I had received from my 
wife since my captivity. They made a lot of fanfare about it, 
bringing me a flashlight so I could read in the dark. They 
brought me hot water to drink. The big brass and all the 
English-language interpreters showed up to congratulate me. 
This was the first letter they had let me have in two years! 

"Then they all left, only to return and wake me up once 
more at three a.m., when I was fast asleep. An interpreter 
came with the message that General Ding wanted to know 
what I was thinking. He wanted a reply immediately. What 
was in my mind just then? Imagine, at three a.m., after I had 
been given my first letter at eleven p.m., in what was in effect 
a cell crowded with cakes of ice! I took a split second to 
think, then, using the envelope from my wife's letter, I wrote: 

''Black is black and white is white. Neither torture, 
maltreatment nor intimidation can change a fact. To 
argue the point with me who is color blind serves no 
useful point. 

January 19, 1953. 

"The words came to me in a flash, just as I am telling them 
to you now. The whole incident lasted only a couple of 
minutes. After they left, I didn't go right back to sleep, but 
wrote it over again on the wall, using a piece of carbon out 
of a broken-down flashlight battery. I did it in the dark, 

176 Brainwashing 

worrying whether I was missing a line or writing over the 
same words. I spread my fingers out on the wall to space the 
letters. When I looked next morning, I saw it clear and 
legible. I couldn't have done better in the daylight." 

"What was this bathhouse?" I asked him. He said it was 
a room five or six feet by seven, with a layer of eight inches 
of ice on the ground. "A man could barely stretch out on it," 
he said. "Two cakes of ice also were in the room, that I 
figured were the equivalent of ninety gallons of water. One 
of the blocks of ice was in a huge cauldron and the other 
filled the tub. 

"The place was so cold that the guards were relieved 
hourly. They sat huddled in a corner with a charcoal brazier 
at their feet, yet they were covered with hoarfrost by the time 
they were relieved. 

"When I was put in, I knew I had to beat the situation 
somehow, and simply had to think out a way. They had 
allowed me to bring a comforter with me. I noticed that the 
moisture from my body filtered through it, appearing on 
the outside as a coating of ice. I figured that if I could get 
enough moisture into that comforter, I would get the same 
effect out of it as an Eskimo does with his igloo. 

"The comforter became one solid piece of ice. From then 
on, it served as a little house for me. I stayed in it as warm 
as I needed. I had a cotton-padded coat which I used as a 
protection from the ice under me." 

One day the Reds came and asked Dave how he felt. He 
replied, "Eighty-eight days to the first day of spring; one 
hundred and sixty-eight days to the first day of summer." 
He was put into that torture chamber on January 12; when 
the snow was crisp outside, and when he came out it was 
January 28. 

About a month later, he met another American who had 
been put into the bathhouse after he had left, whom the Reds 
were trying to intimidate in the same fashion. He told Dave 
that one thing that kept him going was a paragraph that 
someone had written on the wall. He quoted it verbatim. He 
hadn't known that Dave had written it. 

The Independent Character 177 

Five other p.o.w.'s memorized it in the next three months 
and didn't give in to their tormentors. The Red examiners 
hadn't seen it: the bathhouse had been too cold for them 
to enter. 


Dave got the full indoctrination treatment. He was given 
fourteen hours daily study and classwork. His textbooks 
ranged from the fictional-style writings of Howard Fast to 
Stalin's super-work. The History of the Communist Party, 
Short Course. 

"They gave you a tremendous volume of material that 
presented only their own side," Dave said. "You read it out 
of sheer boredom. The average intelligent man just had to 
read something to keep from going crazy. They had plenty of 
novels for your entertainment, but they all had a Red slant. 
Then they let their serious works trap you by sheer repeti- 
tion. They forced you to dig your own mental rut, and then 
to deepen it yourself by dragging a hair across the same path 
a million times." 

Dave thought up a combat tactic for this. He made a point 
of thoroughly reading all these works he could lay his hands 
on. "I hunted for material with which I could fight them 
back, using their own arguments. I found enough quotations 
to wreck them. They stopped bothering me about indis- 
criminate bombing after I quoted Stalin's general order that 
both the front and the rear were fields of war and that one 
could not be defeated without overcoming the other. 

"They put a great stress on co-existence. I replied with 
what their own literature said on the strategic use of this to 
bring about the dictatorship of the proletariat. I made a big 
point out of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty and their own admis- 
sion that they had never intended keeping it." 

Dave frequently referred to the page and paragraph from 
which some quotation came. "How can you remember it 
all?" I asked. He laughed. "I studied those books like the 
Bible, and could often tell them the exact line on a page 

178 Brainwashing 

where something was to be found. Those books gave me my 
best ammunition and I had to be exact, for the Commies 
blandly denied anything you couldn't pin down. By throw- 
ing chapter and verse back at them, I put them on the spot. 
The lecturer often had to go to his superiors to have the point 
cleared up. Frequently, his superiors had to go even higher. 
They had to go through with the whole rigmarole because 
they had built up a mysticism that they couldn't let go of 
without crippling themselves." 

He patiently wrote long papers, taking his time at it, 
assembling his arguments calmly. He made a point of finding 
the many times they could be quoted on both sides of an 
argument. He found this was the principal Red vulnerability 
available to him in the closed environment of the p.o.w. 
camp. He focused on it, filling notebooks with such destruc- 
tive evidence. This kept him busy and was like a game. The 
time came when he had a contrary argument out of their 
own ideology for every one of their claims. His quotations 
always came from the source. They could neither be denied 
nor refuted; the best the Reds could do was to interpret 
them, which usually took more background than the in- 
doctrinators possessed. ''That was my ammunition," Dave 
said. **We were now on even terms. So long as they didn't 
dispose of me once and for all by killing me, I felt perfectly 

"I used those Red quotations for every conceivable pur- 
pose. I got the heat off my back one time by getting them to 
lecture me about Kalenin's thesis that what is black today 
can be white tomorrow and orange the next day. I said this 
was impossible and that black was always black. I had been 
worn out when this came up and was very pleased over how 
they spent the next half-hour lecturing me about it. It gave 
me a rest I badly needed. 

"I sat back relaxed, listening. As I had my own purpose, I 
wasn't worrying. I remembered what they said. They told 
me that a steel ax is the color of silver when new. If not used 
it quickly turns black, and after prolonged idleness, turns 
red with rust. 

The Independent Character 179 

"The Reds noticed my exhaustive reading and the note- 
books I kept filling. They finally were fed up with my tactics. 
I hadn't been able to conceal the use I made of my textbooks, 
so one day they confiscated the batch of them." 

The men in Dave's camp were broken up for indoctrina- 
tion classes into companies, platoons, and squads, with moni- 
tors to record the ideological consciousness of the men. 

One senior instructor, twenty-seven or twenty-eight, known 
as Lee, said he had been educated at Stanford University and 
knew American slang. He was very thin, with harsh, vulture- 
like features. "When he lowered the boom, he really lowered 
it," Dave said. 

"You'll finish your lectures in whatever time it takes you 
to learn the truth, whether ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years, 
and if you die in the meantime, you'll be buried in a very 
deep hole where you won't stink," he told the men one day. 

From the back of the auditorium, a clear voice replied, 
"I hope they drop an A-bomb on Moscow! That's the only 
cure for this." 

"I'm sorry to hear you say that, comrade," Lee replied. 
This remark vms at once incorporated into the camp lan- 
guage, and helped the men keep their feelings from danger- 
ously boiling over. Henceforth, whenever anyone made a 
strong, positive statement, wildly exaggerated, a dozen voices 
would chime in, "I'm sorry to hear you say that, comrade." 

At the start, the Chinese picked their own representatives 
among the p.o.w.'s for what they called a Daily Life Com- 
mittee. They set up committees for recreation, sanitation, 
food, and study. "I infiltrated the study committee by putting 
on a very sincere attitude," Dave said. 

" *I want to learn everything you got, comrade,' I'd say. 
'Bring it on. If you convince me, I'll buy it.' We had to fight 
fire with fire. I knew that before you can administer an anti- 
dote, you have to know the poison. 

"The men strongly objected to forced study. They resented 
having the stuff rammed down their throats. The insults 
against our country and its leaders infuriated but didn't 

i8o Brainwashing 

rattle us as the Reds had expected. Instead of losing our 
heads, we set to work to upset their program. 

"The Commies put a lot of hope in me because I was edu- 
cated. 'If we convince you, MacGhee, we don't have to con- 
vince the others; you'll do it,' they told me. They got rid of 
the chairman they had and made me head of the study com- 
mittee. This put me in a strong position. 

"We used all sorts of tricks to root out the canaries and 
progressives. They squealed on us several times, but we kept 
them from damaging us by destroying communist faith in 
them. 'They're just trying to ride the cigarette gravy train,' 
we'd say. 'They're only being spiteful.' We reactionaries told 
the Reds: 'We're sincere students, comrade. Those fellows 
want to get all the loot they can out of you, but we don't 
want loot.' When we got rid of a progressive, we'd bring in 
someone who thought as we. Although it took a lot of pa- 
tience, we finally got the stool pigeons out of the monitoring 
jobs, anyway. 

"We worked, too, to stop the Chinese supervisors from 
coming into class, using ridicule and fast reading as our tac- 
tics. I can read at a tremendous speed. As a result, we fin- 
ished the required reading quickly and had the rest of the 
time for whatever we could get away with. 

"We succeeded in cutting down greatly the time the super- 
visors spent in class. When they came, some such scene as 
this often took place. The examiner would listen a while, 
then stop me in the middle of a page and ask the men ques- 
tions, to see if they understood. They did. He'd then ask 
me why I read so fast. My stock reply that stumped them was, 
'I know Americans and you don't.' Then I'd say, 'You asked 
me to run this study program. I can't if you don't let me. Go 
ahead and take it over yourself if you want.' They never did, 
of course. I was careful to pick four or five basic questions 
and give the boys the answers in case the Reds asked after- 

"Sometimes, while reading a piece of Marxist learning very 
fast — they call Red propaganda 'learning' — I would insert, 
in as ridiculous a spot as possible, some such line as, 'But 

The Independent Character 181 

there is no joy in Mudville,' or, 'An' I learned about women 
from 'er.' The boys would burst out laughing, and if one of 
the Chinese was about, he'd grab a copy of the book and try 
to find out what was so funny in it. He'd be bewildered. No, 
we had no trouble about attendance at our meetings and no 
catcalls, either, as the others had. So he was generally quite 
satisfied, and we sure were. 

"We grabbed at anything that would have the desired 
effect, such as puns or a play on words. A paragraph might 
say that automatic farm machinery in the U.S. was much 
inferior to that of the Soviet Union, and end up with the 
sentence, 'These are irrefutable facts of decadent capitalism 
in the U.S.' Whoever read it would modify it into something 
such as, 'These are easily refutable facts.' The examiners 
missed this sort of thing, and would only sense something 
was wrong when the fellows couldn't help laughing. 

"Emboldened by our success in class work, we branched out 
into two new fields, resistance to propaganda and frustration 
of military interrogation. The mixed background of the 
p.o.w.'s helped us sabotage the propaganda. Almost every 
profession and branch of knowledge was represented among 
the prisoners. So when the Reds came up with some statistics 
about steel, for instance, we first told them to the class as 
the Reds gave them to us, and then chose somebody to 
analyze the communist claim who understood the industry. 
When they gave details about textiles or anything else, we 
always had someone who could pick holes in what they said. 

"In military intelligence, we got the interrogators all keyed 
up, for example, over what we called 'Philip's famous pre- 
cision bridge.' We spread rumors that it solved all the re- 
quirements of warfare. As soon as some canary told them 
about it, they asked for a paper. We dillydallied until they 
finally picked someone specific and ordered him to write it 
up. We briefed him on what to say. He wrote twenty to 
twenty-five pages, which pleased the examiner until he read 
them. Then he was furious. 'What are you so mad about?' 
our chap asked him. 'You told me to do it.' 

"We built up whispering campaigns in this sort of thing. 

i82 Brainwashing 

We talked about a B-108 super-bomber and let the canaries 
eavesdrop. Then we sat and waited for it to come back from 
the interrogator. It did, and as usual one of our men was 
instructed to write it up. We planned exactly what he would 
say. 'Tell me all you already know about the B-108 so I 
won't waste time,' he said to them. 'Then I'll tell you all I 
know.' He wrote a paper containing all the information the 
Chinese had collected from canaries and added only this 
statement at the end: 'You already have almost all the in- 
formation there is about the B-108. The only additional 
point of importance I know is that the B-108 is so big it lands 
only once every three years to enable the crew to re-enlist.' 

"We never heard another word about the B-108. But it 
helped our constant fight to discredit the progressives who 
carried those rumors. Then they became reactionaries, too. 
We didn't fully accept them into our ranks, but gave them 
nasty jobs that came up. A squad of such ex-progressives once 
gave a particularly obnoxious examiner a terrific beating." 

The problem of how far a person was justified to go in 
"dirty war" in camp caused endless hours of worry. Dave 
had a code for this. He firmly believed that a man in such a 
situation had to draw a moral line somewhere, beyond which 
he would not cross. "Deceit is part of war and can properly 
be used to advance a military purpose, but not to gain a mere 
personal advantage," he said. "I tried to live up to that rule. 
This was a matter of my integrity and included even such 
vital issues as one's own safety and repatriation. On matters 
of personal advantage, I would not lie." 

One test of his loyalty to this code came when repatriation 
approached. The Reds distributed five forms to be filled out 
by each man. Their purpose was to get together a small group 
of men who would promise to present the Red side in ex- 
change for prompt release. They expressed it in double-talk, 
but everyone knew what was meant. Dave's indoctrinator 
took him for a long walk one day. This was unheard of! 

"I know you are having trouble with that fifth form, so 
I'll help you make it out," the brainwasher said, taking one 
from his pocket. He led Dave to a pleasant spot on the hill- 

The Independent Character 183 

side, where they sat down to "discuss." All he wanted, he told 
Dave, was his promise to tell the truth about the Korean War 
when he got home. The word truth, like people and learning, 
had a special Red meaning, and everybody in camp under- 
stood it. Truth meant what helped the communist side. 

Dave flatly refused to use language that could be interpre- 
ted two ways. "I'm not for sale to the highest bidder," he 
declared. They walked slowly back, the indoctrinator glum. 
Before they parted, the indoctrinator told him, "You've made 
a mistake that the peace-loving people can hardly forgive." 

Peace-loving people was another well-understood Red 

When Dave finally was put across the lines, he was at peace 
with himself. 



Subtlety and Horseplay 

The idea for Crazy Week that the Americans organized and 
made into a spectacular extravaganza came from the com- 
bined horseplay and subtlety with which the British p.o.w.'s 
maintained their morale. 

"How did it start?" I asked some of the Americans. They 
weren't sure, but several remembered seeing British prison- 
ers pull off crazy stunts. These were individual cases, but the 
potentiality in them struck the Americans. More accustomed 
to organizing things in a big way, they couldn't let this op- 
portunity pass. 

Bob Wilkins, in Detroit, mentioned Jack Hobbs, a British 
regimental sergeant-major, whom he said was his best friend 
in camp. Hobbs, nearly thirty years a soldier, had seen crazy 
stunts pulled off in the German p.o.w. camps in World War 
n, where he also was a prisoner. I was given more details by 
a lean comrade of his, one of the stanch "reactionaries" of 
the war, named William Westwood. Hobbs and Westwood 
belonged to the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regi- 
ment which was awarded the U.S. Presidential Citation for 
its sacrificial stand in 1951 that contributed so vitally to 
saving Seoul. 

Westwood, who has a droll type of British humor, with a 
subtlety that is almost Chinese, must have got deeply under 
Red skins. They finally brushed him off as "a. bit loco," which 
was just what he wanted. 

He enjoyed playing cards in camp. This took the boys' 
minds off the Reds. He played a new type of game not found 


i86 Brainwashing 

in Hoyle. This game had the advantage that it outwitted 
kibitzers, although there were some, anyway, who kept look- 
ing over his shoulder and telling him just what to lay down. 

This was strange, because they were playing without cards. 

The Reds didn't like it because they felt sure it was mock- 
ing them. They'd stare goggle-eyed. There was no doubt of 
it; the men were playing cards. The p.o.w.'s would look over 
their hand and one would lay down a card, exclaiming, 
"Here's a three of clubs," and whoever won the hand would 
brush in the nonexistent cards. The Chinese are no mean 
gamblers themselves, but they never played a hand like that. 

Bill also enjoyed riding his imaginary motorcycle, espe- 
cially when he had somebody on the back seat. One of his 
greatest sports was billiards. The fact that they hadn't a 
billiard table or billiard balls, or anything else ordinarily 
necessary in the game, didn't stop the men from playing it. 
Bill and a fellow p.o.w. had a competition. They had specta- 
tors too, betting on the results. 

A brainwasher walked in when one of these games was 
being played. He almost walked smack into the table. A 
p.o.w. dashed over in the nick of time, calling out, "Mind 
that table, you're knocking right into it!" 

He carefully escorted him around it, while another p.o.w. 
remarked, "He must be blind." The Red heard him and felt 
sure there was something subversive about it; he tried feebly 
to stop it, but there was nothing tangible to forbid. 

This British group stymied the Red indoctrinators on the 
germ-warfare charges by listening to the accusations for a 
while and then popping such questions as, "Tell us, how 
did those infected flies live at a temperature of 40 degrees 
below zero? Did the efficient Americans design special little 
overcoats for them?" 

British sense of humor went from this to roughhousing. A 
p.o.w., wanting some cigarette tobacco, would ask, "Anybody 
got a roll?" 

Someone would reply, "He wants a roll, fellows," and 
they'd all pounce on him and roll him along the floor. Then 
they'd politely help him to his feet and give him what he first 

The British in Korea 187 

asked for — if they had it — in a poker-faced, most dignified 

The Reds didn't get this, either, but couldn't think of a 
way to ban it. 

The men had to feel just how far they could go. One trick 
was to sing or talk fast, so the enemy would suspect some- 
thing, but be unable to pin it down. They had their own 
poesy for this, which they rattled off to their utmost satis- 

"They seek him here, 
They seek him there. 
They seek old Mousey everywhere. 
Will he be shot. 
Or will he be hung. 
That darned, elusive Mousey Dung? " 

A British sergeant named Arthur Bertram Sykes first re- 
cited this on a makeshift stage when the Reds were trying to 
edge the boys into propaganda shows. The English pronun- 
ciation of Mao Tse-tung is elusive enough, and when trans- 
lated into "Mousey Dung" and then blurred, even indoc- 
trinators who spoke fair English couldn't get it. But the 
enthusiasm with which the verse was greeted aroused their 
suspicion and they called the speaker off the stage and asked 
him to explain. They said they knew it was supposed to be 
funny, but not that funny; they didn't understand it and 
didn't want it repeated. 

So he went back to the stage and told a joke instead. He 
told about an American, Englishman, and Chinese who died 
and went to heaven together and knocked at the pearly gates. 
St. Peter opened, looked them over, and asked the English- 
man what he wanted to eat. 

"Oh, ham and eggs will suit me fine," he replied. 

St. Peter let him in. Then he asked the American the same 

"Ham and eggs will do for me, too," the Yank said. 

Then St. Peter glanced over at the Chinese and asked him 
what he wanted to eat. 

i88 Brainwashing 

"I want some rice," the Chinese replied. 

"Sorry, but we can't cook rice for one," St. Peter said, and 
slammed the door. 

The roar of laughter that greeted this was too much for 
the communist overseer. He ordered the sergeant taken to 
the hole at once and the next act to come on. 

As a man, the audience stood up smartly and marched out, 
refusing to go on with the play. The British remember that 
one of the pleased spectators, who had been brought in to 
photograph this happy p.o.w. family, was Frank Noel, who 
stood in a corner grinning from ear to ear. 

The Reds were right in their suspicion that this joke had 
significance and was a weapon. It was one of many that coun- 
teracted the communist efforts to split the Americans and 
British. The main emphasis of the Reds in dealing with the 
British prisoners was on this hate-America line. The commu- 
nists showed the priority they gave it by hammering at it at 
every opportunity. 

Burchett, who tried so hard to put on a palsy-walsy act 
with the Americans, was the eager beaver in this. When 
Winston Churchill sent Field Marshal Alexander, then Min- 
ister of Defence, to Korea for a quick look-see, Burchett burst 
into the camp waving a long sheet of paper. 

"The British p.o.w. 's have started a petition to demand an 
equal voice with the Americans at the Panmunjom talks," he 
said. A quick glance showed the signatures were those of 
known collaborators. There was no mystery over who had 
started it. Sowing seeds of hate was the Burchett-Winnington 

They were met in the British camps by men who stood 
about with cords tied like hangnooses dangling from their 
hands. At one time, as Burchett entered, the p.o.w.'s started 
singing, "You'll hang . . . you'll hang," and spontaneously 
followed with the words of the song, "Land of Hope and 
Glory." Little hangnooses dangled from their hands that 
time, too. 

One of the reasons the Reds divided the p.o.w.'s into racial 
and nationality divisions, after first mixing them all up, was 

The British in Korea 189 

that they got on too well together instead of getting into 
fights as the communists had hoped. When the Americans 
and Britons remained friendly even while separated, the 
Reds exposed their hand by trying to forbid them to meet, 
even ordering the p.o.w.'s to stop calling across the roadway 
from one company to the other. Men went into the hole for 
breaking this regulation. 

"Why can't we talk to each other any more?" the British 
asked their indoctrinators. 

"We don't want any outbreaks," they said. "The Ameri- 
cans have been threatening to come across and beat you up." 

The British sent some of their boys to sneak into the 
American side. They found out that the Reds had said the 
same thing over there, only making it the British who were 
threatening to go over and fight the Yanks. 

"The Americans have occupied your country," they kept 
telling the British. "Your girl friends back home are all going 
out with the Americans," they'd say with a sneer. 

That they did not have some success with their line would 
be fooling ourselves. A big factor in it was the Daily Worker 
of London. This Red sheet had made a cunning technique 
out of playing up sports. Its propaganda-wise editors made 
sure to give good coverage to the games in which the Britons 
were interested and the Reds made certain that the paper 
came regularly into camp. 

The information-starved p.o.w.'s would grab the rag and 
turn quickly over to the sports page. They enjoyed it thor- 
oughly, and the Commies didn't interfere. Then, because 
there wasn't anything else to read, the p.o.w.'s looked at the 
rest of the paper. Cartoons smearing the U.S. and articles 
dripping hate and lies about America filled a large part of the 
pages. The receptive mood into which the sports page had 
put the men paid off for the Reds. 

While the indoctrinators, in dealing with the Americans, 
harped constantly on Wall Street, saying the communists 
were really the friends of the American people, they had a 
different slant in talking to the British. They grouped all 

igo Brainwashing 

Americans together then, Wall Street or not, as warmongers 
and fascist enemies. 

"We're not fighting the British people," they would say. 
''We're fighting the Americans. They're your enemies, too. 
We're really on the same side." 

The eternal search for a scapegoat was slyly exploited. The 
communists did all they possibly could to divert attention 
from the Americans to the British and from the British to 
the Americans whenever a psychological need arose in a man 
to pin his troubles somewhere. 

The real feeling of the communists was demonstrated 
when an English p.o.w. died two days after receiving his first 
letter from his wife. His "muckers" got their heads together 
— muckers is a favorite British Army word for chum or com- 
rade, and comes from men fighting together in the muck and 
mire — and decided to write the widow and tell her how her 
husband's end was made peaceful by her timely letter. They 
asked their indoctrinators for permission. 

"Of course, if you put in the letter that he died of a guilty 
conscience because of the atrocities he committed," was the 
answer they received. 

A number of the American p.o.w. 's told me about British 
pluck and comradeliness. "They managed to have their tea 
at ten and four," Wilkins told me. "They rarely had any tea, 
of course, and were lucky when they managed hot water. But 
they had plenty of ceremony and went about it with the ut- 
most composure and seemed not to have the least worry in 
the world. They might have been worrying themselves sick 
a minute before and would start right afterwards, but not 
during teatime. 

"They simply didn't notice that they weren't drinking tea. 
The only mention of tea was the call, 'Tea's up!' Then no- 
body referred to there not being any; any more than they 
would have complained about the lack of it if they had been 
guests somewhere. They were very English about it. This 
break did a lot to keep up morale." 

While they still were able to get together, British and 
American p.o.w.'s who hadn't seen a square meal for a long 

The British in Korea 191 

time would engage in animated descriptions of each other's 
choice dishes. Some fellows filled notebooks with such recipes 
when they were supposed to be writing Marxist ideology. 

The Coronation 

The Anglo-American hate line came a real cropper at the 
time of the Queen's Coronation, when the Americans acted 
as guards for the British to conduct their own Coronation 
ceremony in peace — and face the music later on. This was at 

Of all the services held that day, in London and around 
the world, none could possibly have exceeded this in sol- 
emnity and depth of meaning. This was surely Elizabeth's 
greatest tribute on that momentous day in her life. 

The Reds tried to block any information on the subject 
from slipping into the camps. Anyone who became excited 
over the Coronation was in no shape to absorb dialectical 
materialism. But unless the Reds clipped references to it out 
of such Communist Party publications as the Daily Worker, 
which would have given their game away too obviously, they 
had to let some details through. These were sufficient for the 
British to figure out the time of the Coronation to the hour 
and minute. 

When they determined to hold their own formal ceremony, 
the Americans said they'd like to participate. So each side 
set about making a flag. This meant sacrificing a couple of 
shirts, some red antiseptic stolen from the doctor's office, and 
blue ink. Bill Westwood and Marine Commando Corporal 
Rickey Beadle made the British flag. Bill recalls that the 
American flag was made by Corporal "Chip" Wood and a 
chum of his. The Americans had difficulty with the forty- 
eight stars, so Bill helped with these, too. 

Rats tipped off the Reds, who reacted swiftly. They sent 
orders strictly forbidding any activity in connection with the 
Coronation, threatening dire punishment if any attempt were 

192 Brainwashing 

made to violate this injunction. The British decided that a 
service would be held, come hell or high water. 

When Coronation Day came, the British wore rosettes! 
They had been secretly made ahead of time by John Varney, 
a Londoner, out of bits of blue prison jacket and shreds of a 
white shirt, colored the same way as the flags. 

Everyone, in accordance with daily routine, had to appear 
for roll call in the morning. This always included whoever 
occupied the hole — they had to climb out for those few 
minutes. Six Britons were in the pit that day. They stood 
up with rosettes on their jackets. These had been smuggled 
to them the day before with their gruel, along with some 
tobacco for special celebration. 

The Reds stared in amazement, particularly at those who 
had come out of the hole. They became very angry and de- 
manded that the rosettes be taken off and handed over to 

The p.o.w.'s stood stiffly, not making a sound. The Reds 
picked on a corporal up from the pit, Frank Upjohn, and 
insisted he give up his. He took it off and gripped it tightly 
in his clenched fist, a determined gleam in his eyes. The 
Commies grabbed him and tried to open his fist. They failed. 
They called a guard to bring a crowbar. It took that and 
three men to open Upjohn's hand and get the rosette out 
of it. 

The others, standing in line, hastily took their rosettes off 
and pinned them under their jackets. After the experience 
with the corporal, the Chinese just stalked off. The one 
rosette they had seized was a face-saver. The Britons wore 
their rosettes all day, even Upjohn's comrades in the hole. 

At the time they figured the Coronation was starting, about 
twenty-five Britons — all in that particular company — 
gathered in a squad room while a dozen Americans stationed 
themselves at strategic points on guard roundabout. A church 
service was conducted by Charles Bailey, a corporal, although 
this was against the rules. At the exact moment they calcu- 
lated the crown was being placed on their lady sovereign's 

The British in Korea 193 

head, they sang "God Save the Queen." They let go at this 
moment, singing at the top of their voices. 

The Chinese rushed in, but were too late to do anything 
about it. The British p.o.w.'s had had their Coronation 
service and the Americans had had a hand in it. The Reds 
grabbed two of the Britons and took them away, demanding 
an explanation. Then they sent them back to say that they 
were hostages for their fellow p.o.w.'s, and would be severely 
punished if any further effort was made to disobey instruc- 
tions to ignore the Coronation. 

At 8 P.M., the Britons gathered in a corner room with the 
Americans again acting as sentries. The two men designated 
as hostages went in, too, but were not visible from the door. 
Then they began a loud sing-song. Their voices soared. The 
Americans came in and they all sang together. They could 
be heard over the entire valley. 

The hut of one of the main indoctrinators was near by. 
What were the Reds going to do about this? They did noth- 
ing. The issue was too explosive, and at this stage any action 
would have had to be very drastic and could have lost them 
the propaganda gains they had already won with some of the 

Another instance of comradely Anglo-American feeling, 
in spite of the calculated hate campaign, was on New Year's 
Eve of 1953. At midnight, the British sang the American 
national anthem and the Americans sang Britain's. 

The British change of pace from droll subtlety to horse- 
play stood them in good stead. The Reds never knew what 
to expect. They found out that one of the Britons had served 
in the Navy. They had only a few prisoners with naval ex- 
perience, and so eagerly got to work on him. "We'll make a 
fair deal with you," they said. "We'll not bother you any 
more if you tell us just one of the secret weapons in your 

The fellow thought for a few moments, and then said, "It's 
a deal." 

He said he'd tell them of a secret device he learned about 
on a destroyer. When an enemy submarine was about, the 

194 Brainwashing 

destroyer spread green paint over the surface of the water 
where the undersea craft would have to poke up its periscope 
to see the target. 

"Because of the paint, the submarine commander would 
not realize that he had already surfaced and would keep 
coming up. When he reached an altitude of about 1,000 feet, 
the destroyer would shoot him down with its anti-aircraft 

The interrogator had been listening intently, taking notes, 
so it took him a minute to catch on — and explode! 

Bill Westwood learned to draw in camp. "I couldn't draw 
two straight lines before I was captured," he said. His pen 
and ink and pencil sketches possess a gripping quality of 
depth and simplicity that the grim realism of camp life taught 
him. One p.o.w. did a small caricature of a man hanging, 
entitling it, "Squealer Getting his Just Dues." He pasted it 
on an outside wall. The Reds found out who had done it 
and put him into the hole. At once a number of p.o.w.'s 
started drawing sketches against canaries and posting them 
up wherever they could. They got a kick out of hearing 
Chinese go about at night with a searchlight, hunting for 
them to tear down. 

"I wanted to do something constructive, too," Bill said. 
*Tm one of those blokes who believes that a man can do any- 
thing if he sticks his mind to it. So I started drawing. I got 
to enjoy it, and found that this was what I was after to keep 
my mind busy and off the Reds. From then on, every chance 
I got, I'd draw." 

He took his life around him as his subject. "What I saw 
engraved itself so strongly on my mind that I had no particu- 
lar difficulty transferring it to paper," he said. Unfortunately, 
he was not allowed to take any sketches out with him. "But 
I remembered every line in them," he said, "and I've re- 
produced a number." 

He showed me some. One, a scene among Americans at 
the entrance to the "death house," is unforgettable. This was 
a room or hut each camp set aside for patients on whom the 
Reds decided any treatment would be wasted because they 

The British in Korea 195 

were going to die anyway. A lanky American lad is seen sit- 
ting outside, naked to the waist, his ribs protruding, his head 
held up by two skinny arms. "I can still see him sitting 
there," Bill said. "He was starving, and was sent to wait his 
turn at the death house. The space was all taken up." 

A couple of American stretcher bearers, followed by a 
Chinese soldier, are shown in the foreground, against the 
Korean mountains. An almost naked body, nearly a skeleton, 
is on the stretcher, its head hanging over one end, staring 
into the sky, its hair flopping below the canvas. One arm, as 
thin as a rail, hangs limply over the side. 

"That's exactly as I saw it," Bill said. "The fellow in front, 
carrying the shovel, had to come back alone because his 
buddy in back, with the pick, succumbed to malnutrition and 
general debility before they finished digging the grave. He 
fell dead, and was buried in it, too." 

A Red soldier is seen bringing up the rear, carrying his 
bayoneted rifle, striding forward in the peculiar gait of the 
Chinese troops. 

Many of Bill's sketches were of hungry men. He saw plenty 
of them. A remark he made about malnutrition was unlike 
anything I had ever heard before. "You mention hunger in 
a strange way," I said. "What actually is hunger? I mean 
the sort of hunger the p.o.w.s experienced at camp. Can you 
describe it?" 

He hesitated a few moments and then, in a very low voice 
said, "Yes, I think I can." He spoke in a meditative sort of 
way. "When you're starving," he said, "you're so weak that 
if you stand up, you black out. You just can't stand up. You 
have to grab onto something, and if you let go, you fall down. 

"I have seen men fall down this way and never get up 
again. They'd be walking one minute and fall dead the next. 
You can't always tell from looking. Starvation doesn't mean 
being thin. You don't have to be thin to be starving to death. 

"When you're starving, you feel just tired. You just want 
to go to sleep. You feel fatigue every moment. You feel it 
with every motion you make, and it hurts, and so you try to 

196 Brainwashing 

keep as still as possible and to go to sleep. The moment you 
rest, you want to go right off to sleep. 

"When you're really starving, you don't feel hungry any 
more. You feel completely listless. 

"Eating, when at last you get the chance, is terribly diffi- 
cult. When you're on a starvation diet, it's the same as when 
you go entirely without food for many days. You're just not 
hungry any more. 

"The first few bites you get to eat make you want to retch. 
You have to force them down your throat. 

"That's the stage when a man either lives or dies. If he 
can force those few bites past his gullet, he'll probably live. 
The trouble is that he doesn't have the will power. That's 
what he has to force, too. 

"Just to lift a bite of food from a table to your mouth hurts 
— here — and here." 

He lifted his arm and looked at it, and pointed to a spot 
in the muscle above the elbow, and on the tendon below it. 
The way he pointed was so precise, although he did it with 
the utmost simplicity, that I stopped him. 

"How do you know all this so exactly?" I asked. "Did 
you . . . ?" 

He nodded. "Yes," he said. He was three full days without 
a bite of food during the Imjin River battle, and for the next 
two days he wasn't given a morsel. 

"A time comes when a man hasn't the will power any 
more," he went on. "We weren't pushed quite that far. The 
Americans got it worse than we did at that stage, during the 
winter of 1950-1951, and it knocked the will power out of a 
lot of them." 

"Are you sure it's will power that prevents a man from 
swallowing, or is it something that happens to his throat 
muscles when he's famished that makes him gag?" I asked. 

"I don't know — a doctor might be able to answer that," he 
replied. "I just know the feeling." 

"What is the feeling?" 

"As if something at the top of your throat is repelling the 
food. A revulsion for the type of food you're given may come 

The British in Korea 197 

over you. If we had been given better than the bit of slops 
we got, maybe it wouldn't have been so difficult. 

"If I could have had one egg. Just one egg. . . . 

"That's where the danger lies. Even if a mucker tries to 
help you get it down, there's nothing he can do except en- 
courage you. You've got to have the will power." 

Bill came down with pneumonia at one time, which on 
top of scurvy and malnutrition nearly finished him off. The 
Reds waited until he was almost dead. 

"I must have been in a coma, for the next thing I remem- 
ber," he told me, "was seeing a blurred figure in front of 
my face. He was so close he could nearly touch my nose with 
his. I was beyond sensation. I just remember the face — how 
could I forget it? His words still ring through me. 'Listen to 
me,' he was saying. 'Listen to me very carefully. I am going 
to save your life. We are going to save your life. I am going 
to give you an injection. We are going to save your life, re- 
member that. Remember that we are saving your life. We 
are saving your life for you. . . .' " 

The words droned off. Bill must have become unconscious 
again. This sort of thing happened too frequently for it not 
to be a deliberate tactic. 



Two Processes; Many Elements 

The original disclosures about brainwashing came out of 
the agony of the people who went through it and had the 
will and courage to describe it. Information came, too, from 
the writings and statements of the communists themselves, in 
their overt and covert literature and documents, ranging 
from secret instruction sheets for teachers in Red schools to 
diaries and texts of speeches and orders. 

No matter whether I was speaking to Robert A. Vogeler, 
the American engineer who was arrested and sentenced to 
ten years in prison by a brainwashing court in Budapest, or 
the Chinese student, Chi Sze-chen, from the North China 
People's Revolutionary University outside Peking, the essen- 
tial details given me were identical, varying only in the in- 
tensity of the different pressures used. 

Brainwashing was revealed as a political strategy for ex- 
pansion and control made up of two processes. One is the 
conditioning, or softening-up, process primarily for control 
purposes. The other is an indoctrination or persuasion 
process for conversion purposes. Both can be conducted si- 
multaneously, or either of them can precede the other. The 
communists are coldly practical about it, adjusting their 
methods to their objective. Only the result counts for them. 

If what they seek is only propaganda or a sworn statement 
for some immediate objective, as a radio talk or court evi- 
dence, so long as the first process — softening up — can get it 
for them, they do not waste their time and energy going on 
to indoctrination. They operate strictly within the "practi- 


200 Brainwashing 

cal" framework of dialectical materialism, which recognizes 
only power. The sole reason that the Red hierarchy concerns 
itself at all any longer with indoctrination is for Party dis- 
cipline, their only protection. They want to make sure, so far 
as they can, that their followers will not grab the first oppor- 
tunity to turn against them. That is their eternal nightmare, 
the dilemma they have been unable to solve and never can — 
short of creating a "new Soviet man" with the instinctive 
obedience of the termite instead of a free will which is sub- 
ject to reasoning faculties and is therefore never "reliable." 

William N. Oatis, the American correspondent seized in 
Prague, was given only the softening-up treatment, not the 
indoctrination. When he asked for Stalinist literature to read, 
thinking this might influence his persecutors, to his amaze- 
ment they turned him down! They weren't interested in his 
conversion. He was what the Red ideologists refer to in 
horror as a "cosmopolitan," a weak link. They could never 
have been sure of him. The Reds wanted Oatis for a very 
specific purpose, to provide confessions that could be em- 
ployed in an anti-Semitic frame-up within the Communist 
Party known as the Slansky case. 

When this was achieved, the communists had no further 
use for him. Except for the fact that he was an American 
citizen whose case was being vigorously followed up by the 
press, they would have cast him into a slave-labor camp to get 
whatever additional profit they could squeeze out of his bones 
before his death. Their treatment had already started him on 
the road to tuberculosis. 

The Reds always trim their sails in brainwashing to what 
they are seeking to accomplish. Their strategy almost in- 
variably has a major and a lesser objective. This dualism is 
one of their tactics. Then, if the big objective fails or is long 
delayed, they hope to achieve the other. They stand to profit 
either way. By aiming at two targets, too, they gain flexibility 
and keep their enemies baffled by a sort of "now you see it 
^nd now you don't" act. 

The long-range objective of brainwashing is to win con- 
verts who can be depended on to react as desired at any time 

What Brainwashing Is 201 

anywhere. This is the inside-out meaning they give the word 
voluntary and is why they condemn free will with such 
ferocity, for its existence is basically inconsistent with com- 

Even when he stands by himself, the truly indoctrinated 
communist must be part of the collectivity. He must be in- 
capable of hearing opposing ideas and facts, no matter how 
convincing or how forcibly they bombard his senses. A trust- 
worthy communist must react in an automatic manner with- 
out any force being applied. Only then is he the ''new Soviet 
man" that Lenin foresaw. The only real guarantee for this, 
he believed, was to grab a baby from its cradle and then to 
keep it all its life from the slightest contact with outside ideas 
or places, so a subversive word can never enter its ego. This is 
patently impossible so long as a tiny isle exists anywhere out- 
side the Red orbit. That is why the iron curtain is vital to a 
totalitarian state. 

So long as this iron curtain is impenetrable, actual conver- 
sion to communism is not always necessary. So long as the 
individual does what the Party wants, it is usually sufficient. 
The achievement of this submission is the immediate short- 
range objective of brainwashing. The man does not have to 
be a true believer so long as he is convinced that he has no 
alternative to following Red instructions. Hope — the pros- 
pect of any alternative in life, no matter how slim — must be 
wiped out of his mind entirely before communism can feel 
safe with him. 

Communism, as practiced in real life — and brainwashing 
amply proves this — has nothing whatsoever to do with the 
word as defined by the dictionary. The Party's own name is 
one of its most striking examples of double-talk. Communism 
is a sheer power system, gang rule with modern appliances. 
So long as the individual submits unquestioningly, he is what 
is referred to as a "disciplined Party member." 

Brainwashing is a very intricate manipulation, more like 
a treatment than a formula. Each of the two processes that 
make it up are themselves composed of a number of different 
elements. They are found in every case of brainwashing, al- 

202 Brainwashing 

though the proportions differ according to the patient's resis- 
tance and the purpose for which the Reds are treating him, 
and range from a very mild and disarmingly subtle applica- 
tion to crude force polished over with Marxist lingo. These 
can be easily catalogued. 

They are hunger, fatigue, tenseness, threats, violence, and 
in more intense cases where the Reds have specialists avail- 
able on their brainwashing panels, drugs and hypnotism. 
They are applied in two broad ways, one by what is called 
"learning" and the other through the confession phenome- 
non. "Learning" and confession are inseparable from brain- 
washing. Everyone has to participate in them, whether a 
party member or not. Learning in this sense means only 
political teaching from the communist standpoint. Confes- 
sion is an integral part of the rites. In China there are no 
exceptions from it for anyone, any more than for attendance 
at "learning" classes. Everyone within reach of Party cadres, 
security police, and soldiers has to attend, even if a hermit 
in a cave. The retention of his own individuality by a single 
person is recognized as a deadly menace by the whole mono- 
lithic structure. 

"Learning" begins with the study of communist literature, 
but soon embraces what is called criticism, self-criticism, ex- 
amination, re-examination, thought conclusions, and "learn- 
ing by doing." These are obligatory in schools, factories, gov- 
ernment bureaus, army battalions, and prisons. 

The methods used to make "learning" and confession 
palatable and workable are borrowed freely from three 
sources. These are evangelism, psychiatry and science. The 
language and ideals of each of these fields were taken over 
and given new meanings and new interpretations in accord- 
ance with communist needs. Brainwashing is a combination 
of this fake evangelism and quack psychiatry in a setting of 
false science. 

The entire mechanism of brainwashing, so as to condition 
the patient and to indoctrinate him, particularly to accom- 
plish the latter, is geared to putting his mind into a fog. That 
is the purpose of all the sly and harrowing pressures used. 

What Brainwashing Is 203 

If it were not for the need to deeply confuse the man, there 
would be no necessity to deprive him of a balanced diet, of a 
recuperative sleep, of a mind free from horrible fears. Brain- 
washing is a system of befogging the brain so a person can be 
seduced into acceptance of what otherwise would be abhor- 
rent to him. In brainwashing, a fog settles over the patient's 
mind until he loses touch with reality. Facts and fancy whirl 
round and change places, like a phantasmagoria. Shadow 
takes form and form becomes shadow, inducing hallucina- 
tion. However, in order to prevent people from recognizing 
the inherent evils in brainwashing, the Reds pretend that it 
is only another name for something already very familiar and 
of unquestioned respect, such as education or reform, or, at 
worst, a synonym for old-fashioned atrocities. Further, the 
Reds bring forth the argument that it isn't anything new, but 
what has been happening all down history, nothing more 
than the Spanish Inquisition, the atrocities committed by 
conquistadors, or the excesses of colonialism. 

The concealment and subterfuge are intended to distract 
attention from the glaring fact that brainwashing is some- 
thing new which is contrary to human nature and insepara- 
ble from communism. Brainwashing is no more just indoc- 
trination than a pumpkin pie is any longer a pumpkin; some- 
thing more has been added and a fundamental change made 
by a cooking process. That is exactly what happens in brain- 
washing to innocent factors such as persuasion and discus- 
sion. They are chopped up and parboiled. Neither is brain- 
washing just atrocities or even a revival of the Inquisition. 
The Inquisition had no Pavlov and was not thought up in a 
physician's laboratory. Science was not enlisted to put it 

Each of the elements that goes into brainwashing and the 
methods used in their application requires detailed explana- 
tion before the system can be properly understood. 

204 Brainwashing 

Some of the Elements 

Hunger is ever-present in brainwashing cases and ranges 
from outright starvation, which anyone can see, to a planned 
malnutrition. Diet deficiencies were cunningly thought up 
by diet specialists whose job, unlike elsewhere, was to keep 
meals scientifically unbalanced instead of balanced. 

Hunger has many forms, some unknown to those suffering 
from it. I remember the shock I got as a boy when I read 
about the small son of a rich family who had to go to a hospi- 
tal to be treated for malnutrition. How could wealthy parents 
lack food to give their child? I could not understand how a 
boy could live in the midst of plenty and still be hungry. The 
explanation, of course, was that a lopsided diet can deprive 
the body of necessary nutriments just as easily as insuffi- 
ciency, and it makes no difference whether the cause is lack 
of money or an improper choice of foodstuffs. The effect is 
the same. 

I recall, too, my surprise when I first traveled in a famine- 
stricken area in China and saw so many pouchy stomachs. 
People looked well fed, yet they would collapse in their tracks 
and perish of hunger. An uninformed observer would mis- 
take their bellies for the corporations of the well fed. That 
is because the starving fill themselves with anything that has 
bulk, even the bark of trees, no matter how injurious to the 

The usual communist tactic was to provide just enough 
food for survival but not enough for a person's brain to func- 
tion adequately. The common plaint of people who have 
come out from brainwashing is, "I was always hungry." That 
was their chronic state. 

This tactic is used against entire populations inside the 
communist-dominated countries. The masses are less likely to 
make trouble that way. In their befogged mental state, they 
react uncritically to propaganda pressures. Hunger is the 
weapon which Soviet efficiency experts have discovered will 
make a man work himself to death "voluntarily." Hunger, 

What Brainwashing Is 205 

too, will goad a person into horribly heartless and unfair 
competition with his fellows, to which the Reds have given 
deceitfully progressive names in a speed-up system unparal- 
leled by the worst labor exploitations of the first days of the 
industrial age. Indoctrination is a means toward increased 
production of that sort and is employed this way throughout 
Red industry. 

A new and topsy-turvy role is entrusted to the dietician. 
That profession was developed by the Free World to give 
people a balanced diet. Under communism it adjusts the food 
quota to the purposes of political pressure. The p.o.w. camp 
in Korea, set up in hideous caves north of Pyongyang, which 
the prisoners with grim humor nicknamed Pak's Palace after 
the sadist who set it up, was under such rigid mind-enfeebling 
dietary rules. That was a specialized institution. Prisoners 
had to go through a special screening to be admitted. They 
had to possess some particularly important contribution that 
the Reds felt they could make to the communist cause. The 
purpose of Pak's Palace was to get it out of them. Soviet 
Russians were attached to it. The prisoners always knew 
when questions came from them, for they were written in a 
terse, professional manner. P.o.w.'s saw them in Russian 
Army uniforms. Pak's Palace worked closely with brainwash- 
ing establishments directly under Soviet Russian inquisitors 
in Manchuria, to which some of the prisoners were trans- 
ferred for advanced treatment. In Pak's Palace, the minimum 
amount of rice that a man could eat and still survive was 
carefully tabulated and then cut by one-third. While the por- 
tions were being distributed, a knife would be passed over 
the top of the cup to make sure that not an additional grain 
slipped in. The mortality rate can be imagined. 

Looking back over their experiences, the ex-prisoners were 
able to see how cunningly the hunger motive was used. The 
amounts of food ladled out were adjusted to the effect de- 
sired, like a treatment, without any relation to available sup- 
plies. Food was apportioned according to a man's resistance 
qualities. This was even done openly. Every p.o.w. in Korea 
knew that the boys who collaborated got extras. An additional 

2o6 Brainwashing 

spoonful of cabbage in a bowl of rice can become the most 
important thing in the world to a man, inciting any sacrifice. 
Unless he kept his balance, the invisible line between self- 
sacrifice and sacrificing one's buddies and country became 
lost in the pangs of hunger. Treason slipped in when such a 
person let his guard down for a moment. The "gravy train" 
was a common expression and each man knew what it meant. 
What it meant was not gravy, but perhaps an ounce more of 
the native grain kaoliang or a single cigarette. In the same 
camp, some ate better and others starved. Without a word 
being said, this constituted a powerful argument and a not- 
so-subtle pressure. 

Fatigue is another of the chronic conditions under brain- 
washing. No more insidious poison exists than fatigue and 
no worse torture than prolonged fatigue. Its wearying, de- 
bilitating effects are maddening. Most people at some time 
or another have gone for twenty-four hours without sleep. 
Many have survived several days in a row with very little 
sleep. But kept up, this cracks the finest mind and drives the 
strongest person insane. Suicide is a welcome relief to pro- 
longed sleeplessness. "I can't sleep" is one of the most com- 
mon complaints of people removed to a mental asylum to 
keep them from killing themselves. When a vigilant armed 
guard is put over a man day and night, watching him even 
when he attends a call of nature so that he cannot escape by 
suicide, submission to any communist demand can be a wel- 
come relief, a boon accepted with real gratitude. 

Like hunger, fatigue was scientifically calculated and 
subtly applied. Did the student of the ''learning" class like 
basketball? Let him play it hours at a time, daily. Then let 
him attend hours of discussion meeting each day and night, 
too. Compulsory! Let him, on top of this, do his full day's 
study, with such overtime in the form of "social work" as 
was called for by the various "patriotic campaigns" always 
underway. The routine was the same from factory to prison. 

Does a man have an inquiring mind, and did he bring up 
some taboo subject at a "discussion meeting"? Then let him 
become a "model worker," without being released from his 

What Brainwashing Is 207 

"studies," and give him plenty of opportunity to join in 
"democratic discussion." Give him so much politics of a 
routine nature that he'll have no time for any unorthodox 
form of it. 

Dr. Henry P. Laughlin, of the medical school of George 
Washington University in Washington, in discussing a clini- 
cal study that had been made of prolonged wakefulness, re- 
ferred to the "more or less abnormal state" created in all such 
cases, "characterized by loss of the sense of reality and the 
clouding of mental faculties. The individual becomes in- 
creasingly dreamlike and out of contact. . . . The individual 
who has suffered sleep deprivation is more amenable to sug- 
gestion. He is more apt to carry out demands of those who 
would have him undertake certain specified behavior and he 
is less likely to put up resistance to the demands of someone 
in authority." 

Sly, depraved minds find almost limitless possibilities in 
the exploitation of fatigue. Interrogators create an environ- 
ment in which sleep becomes almost impossible. When the 
plagued subject finally dozes off, it is into a restless, unsatis- 
factory sleep, or into a deadening stupor. If the former, he is 
awakened at any unusual hour. If the latter, he is forced 
up again after maybe only an hour of rest. The trick is to 
let him fall into a deathlike slumber, every pore of his body 
in agony for sleep. After giving him just enough time to reach 
this state of complete slumber, he is roughly awakened and 
brought back for a new session of interrogation. He is kept 
up half a day, a whole day, or sometimes even longer, while 
relays of examiners, who have had plenty of rest, take turns 
at harassing him. 

This tactic, like hunger, is manipulated in its compara- 
tively mild form against entire populations inside the curtain 
countries. Observers of communist affairs have often been 
amused or bewildered by what looked from the surface like 
the grossest form of inefficiency. Moscow and Peking con- 
stantly stress the critical need for increasing production. 
Every possible means of improving output is scientifically 
thought up. More overtime work is constantly demanded. 

2o8 Brainwashing 

The "model worker" and the "labor hero" are given all the 
glory that the co-ordinated communications system of the 
communists can work up. Yet these same workers are re- 
quired to give hours and hours of the little leisure time that 
remains to them to "social activities" and "discussion" that 
drag on drearily hour by hour. The observer cannot under- 
stand why the Stakhanovite specialists have not done away 
with most of these obvious handicaps to production, for there 
could be no doubt that they were dangerously lessening the 
stamina of the peasant and the working man. 

The analyst from the Free World who thinks the com- 
munist rulers were merely being silly about this reveals his 
own ignorance of their methods. The communist hierarchy 
is not so foolish as to miss noting the corrosive effect of all 
these extracurricular hours on the minds and bodies of their 
people, already strained to the utmost in endurance. If they 
keep these pressures going, it simply means that they want 
to do so and that they have a purpose in doing so. 

The Forbidden City-Kremlin Axis has well calculated the 
sacrifice that it must pay to stay in power. The Red chiefs, 
who have made greater production instead of improved work- 
ing conditions the objective of trade unionism, well under- 
stand how ridiculous it is to expect more efficiency from an 
already tired worker if he has to participate in these grueling 
"study sessions" instead of being allowed to go home and 
relax. He cannot be permitted this relaxation, for during this 
uncontrolled leisure time he will surely become dissatisfied 
over his exploited, unhappy condition, and think up ways of 
freeing himself. These interminable "discussions" and 
"study" are intended to help create the fatigue that is part 
of brainwashing. 

Tenseness is another chronic state artificially aroused. 
Every prisoner worries about how long he will be kept and 
what will be done to him. "What do they actually want from 
me?" The Reds don't tell him. Accusations, when made, are 
vague generalizations. They set up a quarantine against out- 
side information coming to him. Nobody will tell him any- 
thing, even the most innocuous detail. Ignorance over why 

What Brainwashing Is 209 

he is being held or what is wanted from him becomes an 
agony that feeds on his own doubts and fears. Readers were 
amused in August, 1953, to hear that Edgar Sanders, the 
British businessman held for four years in an Hungarian 
prison, did not know that Stalin was dead or Elizabeth was 
his Queen. That is no joke to those kept in such an unworldly 

I remember the peculiar feeling I got one day after sitting 
a number of hours in a modern broadcasting studio in New 
York. I had asked someone how it was outside and he had 
told me about the rain. "When did it start?" I asked, and he 
gave me details. This made me change my plans. Then, when 
I stepped out into the street, I found out it was sunny and 
pleasant and there had been no rain at all. My friend 
laughed. He had been kidding me, taking advantage of the 
windowless walls of the air-conditioned studio. He had caught 
me unawares on a matter of almost no importance. What if 
I had been kept in such a conditioned environment for a 
year, two years — several years — on what political facts might 
I have been caught unawares? The thought wasn't pleasant. 

The prisoner of the Reds is thrust into an iron-curtained 
compartment inside an iron-bamboo curtain, the prey to 
petty and fearsome hints and warnings, with no means of 
checking up on any detail. Every human being craves some- 
one he can trust. The Reds develop their Winningtons for 
such occasions. The usual Red tactic is to leave a prisoner 
alone for an extended period, without any charges being 
made against him, without him being given any news of his 
family or the outside world — indeed, without his family 
being given any hint about his whereabouts or condition. 

Is it true that his loved ones are being penalized along with 
him and their only hope is in his confessing? His best friends 
won't dare ask his whereabouts or indicate they have known 
him, otherwise they court arrest, too, and may be asked why 
they are so worried, or in what crimes they have been co- 
conspirators along with him. Relatives will eventually tire 
of asking or else will be given the pointed hint that it would 
be much safer for them just to go home and await develop- 

210 Brainwashing 

merits. Just wait . . . wait . . . wait. That, too, is pressure. 

The secret police may have knocked at 3 a.m. and taken 
their man away, or may have politely made an appointment 
with him to visit their headquarters at some convenient hour, 
and then have detained him. 

The usual Red tactic then is to leave the prisoner alone. 
The Russian communists usually do it for a few weeks or 
some months, allowing the tenseness to draw tight, like a 
noose, before they begin their questioning or give him any 
idea what it is all about. The Chinese are more patient. They 
leave the prisoner this way for many months, even a year or 
two, without providing a clue as to why he is being held. 

The agonized victim tortures himself thinking up every 
possible blunder he might have made, even by omission, 
every possible act of his that might be considered a crime 
under far-fetched communist law and its all-embracing theory 
of responsibility. Whom did he know; whom had he met? So, 
without a word being said, long before his first formal in- 
terrogation, each man desperately probes his mind and soul 
for personal guilt. Soon he stops figuring about whether he 
will confess, but concentrates on figuring out what to confess 
that will satisfy the authorities and be the guilt they seek 
so he can escape from bondage. The self-criticisms that every 
man has to write, in or out of prison, enable him to feel out 
the authorities on this. When officials express approval of his 
self-criticism, the confession they want will have been indi- 
cated in it. The game is like searching for a concealed toy 
and being told you're hot, cold, warm . . . warmer . . . until 
you locate it. Until the officials say his self-criticism is getting 
warm, he is told that he is not being frank and to do it all 
over again. If he doesn't remember each detail exactly, and 
contradicts himself on any point, he will have baited his own 
trap. He is given ample time to build up his own case against 
himself, to be his own prosecutor and to convict himself. 

When he asks what he's done wrong, he's only told, "You 
know what you've done; you know your own misdeeds — 
confess!" What guilt? No man is perfect. Any normal human 

What Brainwashing Is 211 

being can conjure up many possible transgressions which he 
may have committed, unwittingly perhaps. 

Everyone has heard of false accusations made against 
others, built up out of nothing, interpreted out of double- 
talk. These add to the man's worries. "Are they trying to 
frame me?" 

Meanwhile, continually dinned into his ears is the refrain, 
"Mao Tse-tung is merciful to those who confess." Confess 
to what? A man cannot be freed until he confesses. This, too, 
is part of the ritual. 

When the Reds have designs on someone for important 
political use in the future, either for a propaganda appear- 
ance or as a prosecution witness in someone else's trial, they 
first arrest and hold him. They have plenty of time to think 
up some accusation. They usually wait for him to think up 
the evidence they want all by himself, through the trial-and- 
error method of self-criticism. 

Then one day the questioning suddenly begins, blowing 
hot and cold, raising the man's spirits one moment, dashing 
them to the cold floor the next. The prisoner will likely have 
sufficiently broken himself by worry to have thought up 
plenty of confession material and be in a beaten, contrite 
mood. He will be so weakened by this prolonged agony and 
the accompanying physical pressures that he can no longer 
remember exactly. He becomes more than absent-minded. 
Big gaps come into his mind. He isn't sure of anything. Any 
suggestion forcibly or subtly presented is likely to sink into 
his mind with slight if any resistance. What is real and what 
unreal in such an environment? He no longer is sure of any- 
thing, much less what happened or didn't happen in the 
faraway past. 

Tricks that would be normally seen through in a moment 
have great shock effect. I heard of cases in which a prisoner, 
held for an indefinite period, was called out after lingering 
almost a year in his cell. The examiner greeted him cordially, 
shaking his hand as if they were old friends. He gave him a 
chair to sit on, cigarettes to smoke, called out loudly for 
someone to come and pour tea for him, and acted as if he 

2 1 2 Brainwashing 

were an important visitor, not the wreck of a man just out 
of a filthy cell. 

"I just don't know how it happened," the brainwasher said. 
"We were going to start your questioning right away, after 
a few weeks at most. You've been held nearly a year. That's 
horrible. We're terribly sorry that happened. Your name 
somehow got mixed up in the lists. I only found out about 
it yesterday." 

Any human being, unacquainted with such deviltry, will 
feel a surge of hope going through him. His guard will be 
down. Actually, this will be just the beginning of his pro- 
longed persecution. 

Tenseness has many forms and the Reds take advantage of 
them all. They range from uncertainty and frustration to 
hopelessness and inevitability. They include a dualist sense 
of betrayal — of betraying and being betrayed. The Reds do 
everything they can to persuade a man that his country 
doesn't give a hoot about him any more, that his loved ones 
won't raise a finger on his behalf, and that his friends have 
let him down. Every bit of evidence that can be twisted out 
of shape to give this impression is presented to him and 
elaborated upon. Where there is some support for this evi- 
dence, they squeeze every drop of effect from it. The captive 
is skillfully led up this dismal trail until he feels completely 
abandoned. During this stage, the examiners are usually very 
harsh on him. They give him the works. 

No matter whether the men I interviewed came from a 
satellite country in Europe or from Red China, his brain- 
washers had told him he had been deserted and betrayed by 
country, church, and friends, so that he now stood all alone. 
This was impressed on Robert Vogeler in Budapest until he 
tried unsuccessfully to climb over a railing and hurl himself 
to death to escape from this awful loneliness. This, too, was 
told to Robert T. Bryan, Jr., the China-born American law- 
yer in Shanghai. The prisoners of war in Korea were told the 

Tenseness is aroused by conveying a semblance of omni- 
science, of knowing everything. A prisoner from Korea told 

What Brainwashing Is 213 

me how stunned he was when his interrogator casually asked 
him, ''How's that farmer brother of yours getting on?" He 
had only told them about the brother who was a mechanic. 
The effect can hardly be overestimated. "I couldn't get it 
out of my mind," this man said to me. 

Another said he was "knocked for a loop" when his ques- 
tioner mentioned his full name, with a middle initial that 
he had not used since a schoolboy. "If they can find out even 
such small details, they must know everything, I thought." 

What they really do know is exaggerated out of all pro- 
portion. As a consequence, their victim feels trapped by his 
friends and begins to distrust them, suspecting that his bosom 
chum back home must have been an enemy agent all the 
time. He retires fearfully into his shell, bringing success to 
the Red effort to make him feel all alone, desperately all 
alone, even when among his pals. They lure him into closing 
his mind against his own people. 

When this is accomplished, the Red attitude changes pre- 
cipitously. Nowhere to go? Why he has a new and wonderful 
home waiting for him, a paradise, a virtual rebirth. Com- 
munism is waiting for him. He has somewhere to go, into 
their embrace, where he will be coddled and protected. The 
Reds put on an act of tender understanding. They stand with 
waiting arms. That is his safe haven, the alternative they 
offer him, after ridding him of all other supports. 

"You are all alone!" is the forceful, first part of this pres- 
sure line. "There is nowhere else for you to go," is its com- 
panion expression. Another form this takes is driving hope 
out of the mind of their victims and replacing it with the 
feeling that Red victory is inevitable. All add up to, "You 
have nowhere to turn but to us." 

The hopelessness-inevitability line permeates communist 
strategy everywhere the Reds go, no matter whether in an in- 
ternational conference as at Geneva in 1954 or in a torture 
chamber in a grim Leningrad prison. Communist strategy, 
often so incomprehensible otherwise, makes sense when 
analyzed from the standpoint of hopelessness-inevitability. 

Confess your guilt, cleanse yourself, and you will be ac- 

214 Brainwashing 

cepted into our paradise, is what they seem to say. They fun- 
nel right down to a man's subconscious and offer him a new 
life, rebirth. 

We make a joke out of the *'nyet complex" of the Russian 
mind and say that this persistent negative attitude is just 
stubbornness, making a mountain out of a molehill. No, 
the Russian is not being funny, nor is it a complex; it is a 
tactic to prove that what the communists want always hap- 
pens, no matter how long it takes, that there is no hope in 
opposing their will. The point in debate is only a symbol, 
and what it represents is the inevitability of communist 
world victory, in accordance with the teachings of dialectical 
materialism, which is their faith. All this, too, is part of 

The visit that was made to Red China in late 1954 by 
British Labor Party leaders was exploited by the Reds as part 
of this hopelessness-inevitability line. Former Prime Minister 
Clement Attlee and his tousled rival, Aneurin Bevan, walked 
through the cynically named Model Reform Prison at Peking 
without seeing or talking to the inmates. Absolutely no con- 
tact was allowed between them. A number of American and 
British prisoners and eminent Chinese were inside its walls at 
the time, having endured mental torture for months or years. 
This visit to their prison by these VI Ps — ^very important per- 
sons — was made the subject of the so-called discussion meet- 
ings that are obligatory everywhere inside communist coun- 
tries. The Reds interpreted it as obvious proof that there 
was no sense any longer in these prisoners hoping that they 
could obtain help or sympathy from the outside. Every bit 
of firsthand evidence I had been accumulating for years from 
the victims of brainwashing had gone to show that this is how 
the minds of non-communists and anti-communists are 
cracked by the Reds. How many minds finally collapsed 
when presented with this additional piece of Attlee-Bevan 
evidence is anybody's guess. 

Foreign correspondents knew at the time that one of the 
inmates of that prison was an American girl named Miss 
Harriet Mills, who had gone to China on a Fulbright scholar- 

What Brainwashing Is 215 

ship, and who had remained when the Reds came, confident 
that good will would be her passport. That was her downfall. 
She was one of the longest occupants of the brainwashing 
prison. A fellow prisoner who had been released told me of 
seeing her handcuffed, always with a young Chinese attend- 
ant. After a lengthy period, they saw her being led to the 
"education department" of the prison. They thought her 
"mind reform" had progressed sufficiently for the Reds to 
give her some little job, such as teaching English. She could 
not do so without co-operating to some degree with the 
authorities. No matter how slight, it could be used as the 
start of a new sense of belonging, to replace the old. Shortly 
after the visit by these VI Ps, her spirits seemed to change. 
She sang Red songs and her nerves were peculiarly high 
pitched. Whether this was elation or hysteria is academic. 
Her prison "education" continued for two more years. 

What should be incontrovertible is that a normal good- 
willed individual, who had never been taught brainwashing, 
cannot avoid being influenced by this inevitability-hopeless- 
ness line if left behind bars for a period of years, fed only 
half-truths and lies, and made the subject of every subtle form 
of persuasion. The Reds fit their most diabolical pressures 
into familiar settings. They make their meetings frequently 
look and sound like a student huddle or a parlor discussion 
back home. They slickly pick on the liberal tenet that there 
is some right and some wrong on all sides and that nothing 
is wholly white or wholly black. With this as an area of agree- 
ment, they pass on to the easy assurance that as good and bad 
can be found everywhere, "both sides" are therefore the 
same. The "purge on both your houses" line is useful to them 
there, exploiting the victim's impatience with his own side, 
building up this opposition to his own people and their cul- 
ture and morality. 

Once this is accomplished, the Reds again switch to a new 
tack. They use the area of agreement already reached to lay 
stress only on the Red argument. They work then on persuad- 
ing the prisoner to rid his mind of the "bourgeois poison" 
he had been carrying about of seeing good on all sides! That 

2 1 6 Brainwashing 

is patently ridiculous, they point out to this weary mind. 
Having exploited that liberal maxim to put their argument 
across, they have no need for it any longer and dump it. 
Their patient then is taught that there is good only on one 
side, that the other is "all bad" and the enemy. When an 
individual reaches this upside-down stage in his theorizing, he 
can then be freed with confidence that his cure and con- 
valescence undoubtedly will take a long time, as in any seri- 
ous illness, and that in the meantime the Reds can benefit 
from his neurotic repetition of their propaganda. 
The Reds hold other tricks in their hand. 

Threats and Violence 

Threats are another concoction generously added to the 
brainwasher's brew. They are limitless in conception and 
cunning. What must have been routine — so many p.o.w.'s 
from Korea told me of it happening to them — was the mock 
execution. A "stubborn" man was led into a field and made 
to kneel. A Red guard stepped up and pressed the cold steel 
of a pistol against the recalcitrant's temple. Sometimes he 
was asked once more if he would co-operate, other times the 
trigger was pulled at once. Usually there was no bullet in it. 
But it was like the game of Russian roulette. Every once in 
a while, to make it more exciting, the pistol did have a bullet 
in it. 

Another time, newly captured prisoners would be lined 
up facing a ditch. They would hear the enemy officer click- 
ing his pistol. Every one had heard of men being shot that 
way from behind and their bodies let fall into a common 
grave. The thoughts that went through one particular young 
man's mind at that moment were a mixture of stoicism and 
stupor. He told me so himself. 

Instead of being shot, he noticed from the corner of his eye 
that the officer was passing up the line behind the fellows, 
turning them around and then shaking their hands. Although 
neither the young man nor the officer, who was probably just 

What Brainwashing Is 217 

following orders, understood it that clearly, this was symbolic 
rebirth. The soldier who told me it happened to him was 
Claude Batchelor. "I never got over it," he said. The relief 
he felt must have been akin to gratitude, almost as if the 
man had saved his life. 

What must have been routine, too, for so many victims of 
brainwashing, civilian and military, have told me about it, 
was for the examiner to slap his pistol meaningfully on the 
desk in front of him or for his assistant to thrust a gun into 
a man's neck from behind while the questioning proceeded. 

Sometimes the interrogator would speak sweet reasonable- 
ness to a man, while letting him discover from someone else 
that his friend who hadn't co-operated had been thrashed or 
killed. The prisoner would be handed a cigarette and be 
treated like a chum, then suddenly hear his buddy in the 
next room screeching with pain for refusing to answer the 
same questions he was being asked. A number of prisoners 
are usually put together in a cell. When one's cellmate is 
carried back like mince meat or when only his clothes are 
returned in a small bundle, the threat to the others is plain 

In this category belongs the beating and kicking to death 
of an officer who took the Reds at their word when they said 
everyone should be frank. He expressed his opinion of a Red 
peace petition in strong words and was taken at once to the 
interrogation chamber. He died a few days later of the 
beating given him. Everyone in his p.o.w. hut then "volun- 
tarily" signed the petition. 

Discussion is another of the words to which the Reds have 
given new meaning. The verb had no object in the painful 
sense the Reds use it — you just discuss. To the Reds, discus- 
sion means going over the same thing again and again and 
again until your eyes swim and you feel as if you are dancing 
the European waltz by spinning to the same side for hours 
on end, unable to stop. 

Major General William F. Dean, in his memoirs written 
after his three years as a prisoner in Korea, tells of being left 
in an auto in front of a police station while his escort officer 

2 1 8 Brainwashing 

went inside. "I shall never forget that town," Dean writes. 
"All the time we sat there someone was screaming inside the 
jail. This was someone being tortured, and whatever they 
were doing to him continued intermittently until we left, 
an hour later." 

The communists heard those screams and could have 
moved him out of earshot if they had wished, or they could 
have interrupted the torture for a while. They did not want 
to. That was part of the treatment being given their highest- 
ranking prisoner, for whom they had great ambitions. He was 
to become the American von Paulus, the U.S. equivalent of 
the Nazi Field Marshal who was captured at Stalingrad and 
afterwards reappeared as a Red front. That Dean beat down 
such plans was a glorious tribute to his stubborn, old- 
fashioned character, which kept his mind on the simple 
truths by which he had been raised. 

No hand was actually laid on him, any more than on Dr. 
Hayes in Kweiyang. Neither had any way of knowing that the 
Red brainwashers rarely used such physical measures against 
those whom they had picked for key propaganda roles. The 
American military personnel in the Korean p.o.w. camps who 
were conspicuously used in the germ-warfare campaigns were 
not physically maltreated in the old-fashioned manner. No 
holds were barred, meanwhile, in the atrocities inflicted on 
those for whom no special role was intended, except to serve 
as a horrible warning for others. 'Tve been in the military 
service for years and I'm used to physical combat," one tragic 
figure said. "If they had hit me once, just a slap, I'd have 
come out of it. But they never touched me. I couldn't under- 
stand what they were up to. By the time I found out, it was 
much, much too late." 

By letting Dean sit outside the jail, listening to the dread- 
ful screams within, he was being informed of his probable 
fate if he crossed them. The communists arrange it so that 
these pressures that leave indelible marks on a mind aren't 
noticed at the time or seem to arise naturally. The Red em- 
phasis is on those unsuspected factors of everyday living and 

What Brainwashing Is 219 

speech. They are part and parcel of the planning, for brain- 
washing is devised to take advantage of each such opening. 

Until his capture. Dean had not a clue to Red mind attack. 
He was maneuvered into doing some things he never would 
have fallen for if he had been properly briefed. He had only 
his convictions to guide him. When everything else failed, 
like Hayes whom he had never met, these constituted his 
tower of strength. They are what saved him, too. 

Captain Ben Krasner, the American merchant-marine 
skipper, held a prisoner for eighteen months in Canton by 
the communists, tersely explained this in a letter he wrote me 
shortly after his release. You were "hit in the mind, where 
the bruises aren't too apparent," he wrote. Not a hand was 
laid on him, either. The psychological tortures thought up 
by the Reds had something mad about them, as if they fol- 
lowed prescriptions written by a doctor who had gone insane. 
Take the case of the foreign missionary who was led into a 
courtyard each day in China, his hands manacled. He was put 
into a big water jug, the kind used where plumbing is un- 
known, in which he could just fit while squatting. Water then 
was slowly poured into the jug. He never knew where the 
level would stop. Sometimes at his ankles, and he would wait 
for more. Sometimes just to the tip of his nose, so he had to 
strain hard to keep his head out, even so swallowing some. 
This dragged on for a month and combined with other pres- 
sures was responsible for him going temporarily crazy. 

Violence was an additional element in brainwashing. The 
most bestial was the concealed form, hardly distinguishable 
from threats. Threats and violence go together. Along with 
the pressures that infected a mind from within, growing like 
a tumor, were those inflicted from the outside. Outright 
bloody violence ranged from head-smashing and a kick in 
the groin — the haphazard blows delivered in uninhibited 
rage — to modern laboratory refinements of these ancient tor- 
tures. The latter have immensely more deviltry to them. 

The refined tortures of dynastic China were revived, often 
with psychological frills in the modern laboratory manner. 
The "tiger's chair" is well known. A man is tied face up- 

220 Brainwashing 

wards to a long bench. Rocks are thrust under his legs, more 
and more fit in, forcing his knees to strain against the tight 
knots until the joints are pulled apart. The pain is increased 
or decreased progressively by stones being pushed in or 
taken out, as the watchful interrogator desires. 

A variation is simply to tie a man down tightly so he can- 
not budge, then to rest a heavy stone on him and leave him 
for a long period. Sometimes pig bristles are used to agonize 
a "stubborn" person's sensitive parts. In "flying an airplane," 
the victim is hoisted by the thumbs, then doused with cold 
water to revive him whenever he passes out. 

In the "diamond-mine treatment," he is forced to crawl 
back and forth on a plank covered with bits of broken glass. 
Sometimes he is roped and rolled back and forth over a plank 
studded with sharp nails. 

Innumerable variations of the "ice bath" were used in 
Korea. In one version, the p.o.w. was stripped from waist 
down and put outside in subzero weather with his feet in a 
big basin filled with water that soon froze. The drop of water 
torture was revived. A U.N. soldier would be tied to a corner 
and questioned while a drop of water plopped on his head 
every minute for hours on end. At intervals, the examiner's 
assistant reached over and curled a lock of hair around his 
finger and pulled it out by the roots. 

Men's faces were slapped with a wet towel, a comparatively 
mild penalty in itself, except that the poor chap's hands were 
tied behind his back with wires, cutting off the circulation. 

The broad use to which threats and violence were used 
with the hopelessness-inevitability line as a backdrop was 
demonstrated in the controversy over the rights of Chinese 
and Korean prisoners of the U.N. to refuse to return to 
communism. The most effective tactic to force co-operation 
with the Red underground was the threatened punishment 
of loved ones left behind on the mainland. I began hearing 
about families seized as hostages a year before the dispute 
became world news. 

Ghastly pressure was put on the p.o.w. 's by both sides. The 
U.N. was "embarrassed" by the desire of captured Red sol- 

What Brainwashing Is 221 

diers to want to stay on our side, the House of Commons was 
told on May 21, 1952, by Selwyn Lloyd, speaking for the 
British Government. He said ''every endeavor was made to 
persuade as many as possible to agree to return." The U.N. 
Command, he blandly said, wanted "as few people as possi- 
ble" to refuse to go back to Communist China. Widely 
quoted by the Chinese Reds, this fit neatly into their brain- 
washing pressures, along with the abandonment by the U.N. 
of supervision over p.o.w. enclosures to Red agents. Foreign 
correspondents, whose dispatches would have forced a change, 
were barred from the area. 

Eighty thousand prisoners of the U.N. "have governed 
themselves, demonstrated as they wished — even arraigned 
and executed some of their fellows, while their guards dared 
not enter," said the British-owned South China Morning 
Post at Hong Kong on May 28, 1952. No more effective man- 
ner of hammering the threat of Red omnipotence into the 
heads of people could be imagined than such facts. 

This unbelievable strain on minds that wanted to be free 
reached its climax at Panmunjom, where the men were 
brought for their fateful choice of sides. They were placed 
under the supervision of neutral authorities who made it 
clear to the world that they believed these men ought to be 
forced to return to Red China. Indian troops were brought 
in under Lieutenant General K. S. Thimayya, an inflexible 
and honorable soldier who nonetheless held this view so 
strongly that after the proceedings were over, he participated 
in an official Indian Government documentary movie on the 
subject in which I saw and heard him express the hope that 
the principle of "voluntary repatriation" would never be- 
come a part of international law. "I am dead set against it," 
he said in an interview, calling it "a frightful precedent." 
No matter how sincerely the Indian troops might have en- 
deavored to fulfill the neutral role their country demanded, 
this attitude could not help but provide invaluable brain- 
washing material for the Reds. Released prisoners of war 
told me they were deprived of blankets and other accommo- 
dations until they found out what had been guaranteed them 

222 Brainwashing 

under the international agreement and posted this up on the 
bulletin board. Every subtle influence that could push them 
toward abandonment of the Free World to which they had 
come was used against them! 

The showdown came in the examiners* huts, when the 
men were asked whether they wanted to return to Red China 
or stay on the side of the free people. One door led to the 
former, the other to the latter. "The most pitiful thing of 
all is that the prisoner stands alone," cabled Robert Alden 
to the New York Times from Indian Village, where these 
"painful scenes," as he labeled them, took place. He described 
the questioning of a typical Chinese. "The guards are hold- 
ing him down. The communists are sneering at him while 
they talk. The neutrals sit stolidly ignoring the prisoner's 
pleas . . . the desperate man's eyes sweep the hostile room 
looking for some sign of friendliness." 

After thirty minutes of this, he "is desperate, hoarse and 
gasping for breath like a drowning man. Though the day is 
cold, beads of perspiration stand out on his face. . . . 

"These were painful scenes to witness. . . . The prisoners 
refusing repatriation were taken from their comrades and 
pinned to a bench by three Indian guards. Just a few feet 
away, seated behind a blanket-covered table, were the Red 
explainers, puffing at cigarettes and talking." 

What greater assistance could a brainwasher ask? Witnesses 
told of typical scenes — a man would stand up as if drunk, 
waver from side to side, stare pleadingly from face to face for 
a gleam of sympathy, and then in a trancelike state stumble 
from one gate to the other. A man couldn't get a straight 
answer to his questions. Panicky, he couldn't tell which door 
led to freedom and which to slavery. He heard only the 
language of diplomats and double-talk. Plain talk was for- 
bidden. Each time he approached the door to the Free 
World, the communist's commanding voice would stop him. 
"Comrade, that is not where you want to go . . . comrade, 
are you sure where you want to go? . . . Comrade, the other 
way ..." This would continue until, in exhaustion, the poor 

What Brainwashing Is 223 

man would tumble through the latter, where everyone knew 
full well he desperately did not want to go. 

Even so, there were not enough such cases to compensate 
the Reds for their over-all failure. They were unable to 
bring to bear that last ounce of pressure — sheer power — 
needed to crystallize such a situation into a spontaneous — 
"voluntary" — reaction favorable to communism. So the Reds 
broke up the whole proceedings. The Free World, through 
the iron will of simple people, had been given a glorious 

The history of the p.o.w. camps in Korea constitutes one 
of the most enlightening chapters on how current events are 
manipulated as part of the brainwashing pattern, against 
which the nations of the Free World are just as responsible 
for keeping their guard up as the lonely lad in a Red prison. 

Yalu Madness 

The Yalu is a river between Manchuria and Korea on 
whose banks I spent an idyllic week with my wife when 
World War II was having its birth pangs, close to twenty- 
five years ago. The Reds set up p.o.w. camps on the Korean 
side in the early 1950s. These were crude brainwashing 
clinics. A typical case in which no threat was uttered, no 
violence was used, is still as clear an example of the com- 
bination of threats and violence for brainwashing purposes 
as I have ever come across, a modern atrocity from which 
Edgar Allan Poe would have recoiled. 

A sergeant was being questioned in a hut one day beside 
the Yalu. By then he was a bony, terrified youth, about 
twenty, hardly resembling the stocky fellow who had dropped 
out of the warplane in which he had been a gunner. They 
had trapped him a couple of days later when hunger drove 
him into a Korean hut. He had been given kimche — pickled 
cabbage — by a friendly family. But meantime their little 
daughter had run off to tell the communists without letting 
her parents know. 

224 Brainwashing 

Why had she done so? She was the victim of just as gross a 
betrayal as he. These kids had adored the foreign soldiers 
when the war began. Americans gave them the tastiest sweet- 
meats they had ever eaten — candies, chewing gum, and choc- 
olate bars — they got a treasure trove, too, in colored pencils 
and notebooks. 

Then one day all the children in the neighborhood were 
called to a people's discussion meeting, just like their elders, 
where they were told that the wicked Americans were giving 
out poisoned candies and explosive toys, even dropping them 
from airplanes for luckless children to pick up, and that jnany 
boys and girls had already been killed. The youngsters were 
horrified that people could be so evil. They could not imag- 
ine their elders lying to them about it, especially after one 
"able Party member" got up to give vivid descriptions of the 
agony in which their little brothers and comrades were sup- 
posed to have died. 

The children resolved voluntarily, just like the grownups, 
to never touch a thing given them by these hateful white 
people, and to remember them with loathing all their lives. 
I saw the colored horror comics and illustrated story books 
in which these lessons were graphically illustrated. 

The children were proud, too, to be told at the same 
meeting how they could help their country. "Watch out for 
enemy agents and spies," they were told. "Listen to what 
everyone says, even your parents at home and especially when 
friends come for a visit. Listen, and when you hear anything 
suspicious, report it at once to the police. This will make 
child heroes of you." 

That was one of the main reasons escape was so difficult in 
Korea. That was how this young soldiei came to be trapped. 
He had little stamina left anyway, and a sore wound on his 
ankle from a shell splinter. 

A shot through the mud wall warned him he had been 
cornered. There was nothing else to do but surrender. They 
knocked him about a bit and took away his shoes. With rags 
on his feet, he was marched over the flaky, thick snow for 
two nights before he was brought to the first command post. 

What Brainwashing Is 1425 

A series of night marches continued from then on for a 

His foot hadn't been frozen when he was caught, but was 
frozen now as he stood in front of his interrogator. Not only 
his foot, but his left hand. They had left him for nights on 
end in freezing huts. His wounded leg had stopped hurting. 
Now it was ugly and swollen but didn't hurt, even when he 
stuck his finger in it. Only it left a hollow that scared him. 
His frozen hand had turned blackish, too. They were so dis- 
colored, he was scared to look at them. 

He had been undergoing frequent interrogations for some 
weeks already. He had told them much more than the name, 
rank, and serial number specified by the regulations. He was 
positive he had not leaked out anything the enemy didn't 
know. He would give up no secrets that might hurt his 
buddies or his country. 

He had been given some literature to read. He knew it was 
Red but he had never seen anything like it before and was 
curious. One magazine in particular puzzled him. They 
said it was an American magazine, put out by Americans at 
Shanghai. He read names such as John Powell, editor. The 
magazine was called the China Monthly Review. What he 
read seemed reasonable in most places, but he resented some 
of the statements and some articles gave him an unpleasant 
feeling that they were lies. He knew nothing of communism 
or China, so felt at a loss in making up his mind. He had 
more important things to fret about, his own survival and 
how to keep his trap shut under the persistent questions. 

They gave him some weird pamphlets to study on the sub- 
ject they kept bringing up, what they called Marxism-Lenin- 
ism and the ideas of Mao Tse-tung — "Mousey Dung" as he 
and his buddies called him. He noticed that fellows who had 
a good memory for that kind of stuff got a little more chow 
and warmth. If this paid off, he saw no harm in remembering 
a little of it, but he would be damned if he'd take any seri- 

Meanwhile, his hand and foot didn't get any better; they 
got worse. Slivers of terror ran up and down his spine when- 

226 Brainwashing 

ever he glanced at them. There was no doubt about it; they 
were frozen, and bad. He had to get to a doctor, somehow. 
The dreadful word gangrene coursed through his head, mak- 
ing it swell with fear. A finger came off. Just like that, a 
finger came off. He had to get to a doctor. 

He was taken for interrogation instead. The man wasn't 
too hard on him. He seemed a sympathetic guy. He gave him 
one look and said he better get to a hospital fast if the rest 
of his fingers and foot were going to be saved. There was no 
doubt of it now; gangrene had set in. 

The lad felt full of hope when he saw the sympathetic look 
as the interrogator stared at his poor sick foot. He had to 
save that! By God in heaven, he had to save that! He heard 
the man talking. "I am so sorry, comrade, but you look like 
hell!" He felt sure he saw compassion in his eyes. The ex- 
aminer said nothing for a minute — they often did funny 
things like that. The p.o.w. now felt sure, gilt-edged surety, 
that he was figuring out a way to help him. He filled the 
silence with sweet anticipation. He was going to get treat- 
ment. He would be warm. He would not lose any more of his 
fingers . . . maybe just one more. His leg would be saved. 

"I sure have to send you to a hospital, comrade," the ex- 
aminer said, breaking his silence. The curious juxtaposition 
of American slang and this new language made him never 
feel sure of what they were saying. He clung to every word 
now, squeezing more of that precious hope out. 

''We'll have to act fast," the interrogator was saying. What 
a fine fellow; how grateful he felt to him. He had a feeling 
this man wasn't one of those fish faces. You never knew what 
they meant. "You have to help me send you to a hospital," 
the man was saying. "So many of our soldiers, the same as 
you, and our good peasants and villagers who only want 
peace, are being horribly burned and injured by your bar- 
baric napalm bombing and so many are being infected by 
your germ warfare that we have no beds available. Your 
embargo on drugs, contrary to all the rules of war, is another 
handicap. But we are going to find you a cot in some 

What Brainwashing Is 227 

This last was all the lad heard. If he heard any of the rest, 
it was only his subconscious that took it in. 

"But you'll have to help me do it," the fellow said again. 
"Every military service has its regulations. You know that. 
Before the people can spare you a hospital bed, when so many 
are in need themselves, they must know you are deserving of 
it. This is really a simple matter. You have been given a 
short pamphlet with some editorials from our Liberation 
Daily, explaining the wonderful role that people's discus- 
sions take in our new society. 

"You know what discussion is; you have it in your own 
country. Of course it isn't people's discussion yet, but you 
can help make it so. Anyway, it shouldn't be too difficult for 
you to grasp. 

"All we ask is that you read and study this, and that you 
do so willingly, and come voluntarily to your own conclu- 
sions. We know you understand right from wrong. When 
you have studied it, you will have a new grasp of the people's 
role. When you sincerely show sympathy to the people, they 
will return it a thousandfold. Their generosity is as wide as 
the heavens. The mercy of our great leader, Mao Tse-tung, 
is as broad as the universe. Then they will spare you not only 
a hospital bed, but give you the best treatment we have. 

"Now be a good guy and go back to your quarters and 
study. Remember, I am going to send you to a hospital. Re- 
member that I can't do it if you don't help. This is a people's 
democracy. So hurry up and do your lesson." 

The lad went back to the semifrozen hut he was occupying 
along with about thirty-five other prisoners, determined to 
get that lesson learned. Never was he so determined to learn 
a lesson before. He lost a second finger that day; it came off, 
just like that. Terrorized, with almost frozen tears in his 
scared eyes, he studied. He would go to a hospital ... he 
would get the best treatment. 

He was full of confidence when he appeared before his 
interrogator a couple of days later. He had almost memorized 
the page. The test was even pleasant, for it wasn't in the 
dread question and answer form he had resented so much in 

228 Brainwashing 

school. This was discussion, a man-to-man discussion. "What 
we want is your standpoint," the interrogator explained. "We 
don't care much about names and dates and all that sort of 
rubbish. What we want to know is how you stand as regards 
the people." 

What a fine fellow he was I He felt lucky having him as his 
interrogator. He was like a father to him, although only a 
little older than himself. He would do anything in the world 
to please him. 

"We are especially anxious," this man was saying, "that 
you grasp the fundamental truth that labor created every- 
thing. That is what evolution means. Labor does all and is 
responsible for all. Once you grasp that, you are automatic- 
ally on the side of the people." 

"Sure I'm on the side of the people," the youth blurted 
out. "I understand now, how like the book says, labor made 
the world, labor did everything. I am on the side of the 
people," he repeated pleadingly. "Now can I go to a hospi- 

"Once we can be sure of it, you'll be on your way," the 
interrogator said. 

"This isn't communism," the lad thought to himself. 
"Even if it is, what's wrong with it? Don't we believe the 
same thing? Say, he hasn't even mentioned communism. 
What's all this scare about communism, anyway?" 

"The people are very tolerant and generous," the interro- 
gator went on. "They will consider you one of themselves as 
soon as they know you are deserving. Then you will be put 
into a hospital. You will be given the best treatment. Of 
course, you must understand we have so very little, even for 
ourselves, but we are happy to share what little we have with 
our friends. We don't give to our enemies, of course. We 
don't have enough for that sentimentalist rubbish. 

"You seem to have learned your lesson well. But are you 
sincere? That is what the people want to know? Are you 
sincere? That is what I must guarantee to them. That is my 
responsibility, and if I fail and you are untrue to the trust 
given you, I will get into very serious trouble. I will have 

What Brainwashing Is 229 

proven that I doh't have enough knowledge and faith in our 
cause to be able to convince you, a simple son of a working- 
class family. That would be a crime!" 

"Don't worry about me!" the lad exclaimed, concerned 
now that he might be letting this grand fellow down, who 
was sticking out his neck for him, trying to get him a bed 
and a doctor when they had so little themselves, it was 
pathetic. That damned blockade! He'd be having all the 
medicines he needed if it weren't for that. And they call us 
civilized. Why had he been sent out here anyway? "Tell me 
that," he said to himself. He felt light-headed. What had he 
been saying? Had he been thinking or talking aloud? Who 
had been talking? He had just finished — what — and he 
couldn't remember. 

"Please, God, get me into a hospital!" He knew he was 
saying this now, silently to himself, praying. "Please let me 
do the right thing. Please save my fingers." 

He lost the end of an index finger that day; it came off, 
like the others, without pain. Dead flesh. Dead flesh on his 
pink body. Good God, get me to a hospital, quick! 

"Sure, I'm sincere," he said aloud, making sure it was 
aloud, not just thought. The interrogator reached over and 
lit a cigarette for him. How had that cigarette got into his 
mouth? Oh yes, that wonderful guy, who somehow reminded 
him of his dad, had given it to him. Imagine, a slant-eyed 
gook reminding him of his own father! He loved that fellow! 
He was going to send him to a hospital, with fine doctors and 
beautiful nurses and all the medicine in the world. What a 
wonderful country. . . . 

"The people are good-hearted and generous, but their eyes 
have been opened wide by their suffering and they can't 
afford to take chances," the interrogator was saying. "The 
people can't just take your word for it that you are sincere. 
They have to be sure of it. They have to have it proven to 

"How do you prove it? How do you prove such a thing as 
being sincere?" the lad pleaded. "Tell me, I'll prove it to 

230 Brainwashing 

"Really it's very simple," the interrogator went on. The 
lad puffed almost hysterically at his butt. He mustn't miss a 
word, his life depended on it, and here he was feeling so airy 
and faint. Damn his eyes! Wake up and listen! 

"You have studied some of our dialectical materialism. 
That should have taught you that we believe facts speak 
louder than words. You must prove your sincerity. I am 
anxious for you to do so. Then I will be able to send you to 
a hospital, but you must help me." 

"What must I do?" He had impatient tears in his eyes now. 

"We don't want you to do a thing that you don't want to 
yourself, voluntarily." 

What was he saying now? His head kept buzzing. Had he 
fallen asleep. No, by God, he'd stay awake. How he'd like 
to sleep, just to sleep for a whole day, for a week, forever. 
No, not forever. He had to live. He had to stay awake, so he'd 
save his remaining fingers and leg. 

His poor, poor charred fingers. His leg with the hollows 
where he felt it. 

"Tell me what to do and I'll show you," he said aloud. 

The interrogator's voice was firm now. "Sincerity is proven 
by action. Anything that will show you are on the side of the 
people, all people, our people and yours, for we're all 
brothers, all except those who are misled by Wall Street and 
the warmongers. All you have to do to prove your sincerity 
is to tell us something that will help the people, or keep 
harm away from them." 

"What, tell me what?" the lad begged. "What do you 

"Anything that will show you are sincere in your gratitude 
to the people who are saving your life for you, although you 
killed their brothers and sisters by dropping burning napalm 
on them and bacteria to make them sick." 

"Huh?" said the lad weakly. "I didn't do anything like 
that. I'm a gunner." 

"What difference does it make whether it was you or some 
buddy of yours. Aren't you all one?" 

What Brainwashing Is 231 

That was a tough nut to crack. Maybe he was guilty. Any- 
way, he would prove his sincerity. 

"You can prove you are on the side of the people in many 
ways," the interrogator was patiently explaining, all over 
again it seemed. "There are plenty of opportunities all 
around you. Maybe some of the reactionaries who haven't 
had the learning advantages you've been given are stealing 
the people's food, hiding it for some escape attempt. That is 
against the people's interests and you can prove your mind 
reform by telling the people about it. That way you could 
save those men from crime. That's just one example how you 
can prove your sincerity." 

The youth was alert now; funny how he felt his mind 
clear. If ever he needed a clear mind, God, he needed it now. 
"Help me, God," he said to himself. What the fellow was 
saying sounded all right, but there was a catch in it. If only 
he wasn't so dreadfully tired. 

"There are other easy ways," the interrogator was droning 
on. Sometimes a word came out clear to him, other times it 
seemed to fade away. "You might know something about 
your airplanes that could help the people. You would prove 
your sincerity by telling it to the people." 

That did it! He'd buy none of it. He'd be damned if he 
would. He steeled himself inside; he'd die first. Let them 
take their rotten medicines, their quack hospital, and they 
knew where they could stick it. He did not say it aloud, he 
knew better than that. He just thought it. 

"Now you go back to your quarters and think about this," 
the brainwasher said. "We don't want you to do anything 
you don't want to do willingly." 

The bastard was able to read his mind! The lad cringed. 
The enemy knew every move he made, every thought that 
went through his head. Those Reds knew everything. Oh 
God, whom could he trust? He wouldn't break. He wouldn't 
rat on his buddies. Of course he knew who was hiding food. 
He wouldn't let his country down. He knew other things, 
too. They'd never get them out of him. 

The next morning after he woke up out of a short sleep 

232 Brainwashing 

that was as complete as death, he was horrified to find he 
had lost a toe. He had lost a toe! Gangrene had settled in his 
foot, too! The realization came to him for the first time that 
he might have to lose both his good arm and his sturdy right 

Panic, sheer panic, concocted out of fear and hysteria and 
a growing sense of being completely helpless, without friends, 
with nobody who gave a hoot about what happened to him 
any more, here or in heaven, coursed wildly through his 

That was how he found himself a little later before his 
interrogator once more. He must have been in a sort of walk- 
ing sleep, he felt afterwards. He must have lost control of his 
mind. Anyway, he had no idea what he said. He couldn't 
remember a word. He is sure he couldn't have spoken co- 
herently. He believes he just fainted. He got to the interro- 
gation chamber, and everything got vague and misty, until 
after the amputations. 

He lost both his good left hand and his sturdy right leg. 

This, in capsule form, is what happened not once alone 
but plenty of times, in different degrees. Those men lost 
their hands or their feet out of violence, just as much as if 
their inquisitors had picked up a meat ax and hacked off 
their limbs. This was violence in the refined manner of 
dialectical materialism. 

Drugs and Hypnotism 

An ideology so ruthlessly materialistic as communism 
would be at variance with its own philosophy if it failed to 
make use of drugs and hypnotism. In special cases, when the 
mind is particularly strong willed so that death would come 
before submission to ordinary brainwashing tactics, drugs 
and hypnotism have been used. 

Originally there were two words for this new strategy of 
mind attack. One was brainwashing and the other, brain- 
changing. The former referred to pressures just short of the 

What Brainwashing Is 233 

atrocity of overt interference by medical science with the 
functions of the brain. Brain-changing meant alterations in 
thinking brought about by the sort of treatment hitherto 
identified with a doctor's prescription or a surgeon's scalpel. 

The idea was simplicity itself, merely to remove a human 
being's memory of some specific incident and then to insert 
a new and different memory in place of the old. That is even 
a more repulsive conception than the most devilish trickery 
of primitive witchcraft. A highly educated person who bends 
medical discoveries to the practice of mind attack is incal- 
culably more evil than any savage using potions, trances, and 

The word brain-changing became obscured as brainwash- 
ing began to embrace all the available pressures that could 
be utilized to bend a man's will and change his attitudes 
fundamentally. Brain-changing specifically refers to the com- 
plete job in all its wickedness. 

Cardinal Mindszenty underwent a brain-changing. That 
was how his vigorous mind was bent. A man's memory can 
be physically eliminated, if at all possible, only at the price 
of permanent damage to the brain. In such a brain-changing, 
drugs have to be used to destroy the natural alertness and 
strong character of the individual, and hypnotism must be 
employed, too, to help in breaking down resistance. Informa- 
tion obtained through the most persistent inquiry by every 
possible channel reveals that drugs and hypnotism were used 
on the cardinal. 

The extent to which these additional pressures have been 
employed by Red China is not known. China still lacks the 
specialists that are at the beck and call of Lubianka Prison 
in Moscow, but is known to be working to overcome this 
inadequacy, with the help of Soviet Russian advisers. 

I was told about the use of drugs by at least two victims. 
One was Robert T. Bryan, China-born American lawyer. He 
was a prisoner in Shanghai's Ward Road prison for sixteen 
and a half months. He heard the wailing of tortured fellow 
inmates and saw their corpses being stacked into trucks. After 
ten months of softening up, the last five in solitary, he 

i{34 Brainwashing 

begged ''for the privilege of indoctrination," summoning all 
his knowledge of Chinese characteristics and communist 
lingo. He put on a flawless act of conversion and helped 
maintain his stamina by keeping his mind busy thinking up 
ways of making it appear genuine without really giving the 
Reds anything tangible. 

Five indoctrinators worked over him in relays for sixteen 
days. He was shaken out of his sleep at any time of the day 
or night so that the poisons of fatigue would be diffused 
through his whole system. After this course, he was given 
four weeks of "thought examination." The Reds hoped to 
accomplish two things by that. They would make him go 
over his studies so strenuously that they would be driven into 
his subconscious forever and they would be able to detect 
any flaws in his "standpoint." Afterwards, just to make sure, 
they gave him a month of re-examination when a committee 
of three specialists in ideology probed his mind. 

He self-confessed for hundreds of hours during these ses- 
sions. He told them, 'Tm a changed man." He made more 
confessions than he can remember, sometimes up to a hun- 
dred pages. Unless he did so, they told him he had no hope 
of release. Each time, they came to him with further demands. 
This is the usual Red tactic, in everything from an interna- 
tional conference to a prison session. They finally demanded 
that he admit to being a spy. 

This he point-blank refused. The fact that there was no 
truth in it was irrelevant. Neither was there in the other 
charges. He feared that with such a signed document they 
would execute him, and by the help of fellow travelers 
abroad, appear justified. "No, I won't," he firmly said. 
They beat him, handcuffed him behind his back, and put 
him in his cell for seventy-two hours. When he still doggedly 
refused, he was taken to another room, where his trousers 
were removed and he was hoisted onto a table. A hypodermic 
needle was jabbed into his spine. What it was he had no idea, 
but one of the indoctrinators later said he had been given 
"true words serum." 

He felt light and blacked out, awakening in his cell next 

What Brainwashing Is 235 

day with a terrific headache. He told me this happened 
twice. Afterwards, he was shown a document in his hand- 
writing, signed by him, although he had no recollection of 
it. They must have dictated it to him while he was under the 
influence of the drug. He was shown the final confession they 
sought. Fortunately, they wanted it for domestic propaganda, 
and after publicizing it, let him go. 

"I never for a second took anything serious that I wrote 
for them," he said to me. "I was putting on an act. They 
never convinced me of any part of their line. I was able to 
resist their indoctrination because I knew enough about the 
mechanism of communism not to be fooled. I had been a 
Municipal Council lawyer in Shanghai for fourteen years, 
and prosecuted many Reds. What would have happened to 
me if I hadn't known? Well, that would have been a dif- 
ferent kettle of fish." 

Another instance of the use of drugs was told to me by 
Lieutenant John A. Ori. While a p.o.w. in Korea, he one 
day noticed a white powder in his food. He thought it was 
salt, and was delighted over anything to give flavor to his 
watery sorghum. When it tasted sweetish, he thought it 
maybe was sugar. As soon as he finished eating, he was led 
away for interrogation. 

"I found myself talking and talking," he said. "I was 
hardly able to control what I was saying. I talked a blue 
streak. I concentrated as never before to keep the secret I 
knew they were after." 

About a week later, he saw some more of this white powder 
mixed into his food. "I was fagged out, else I would have 
connected it with my loose tongue," he said. "When I was 
taken out this time, I knew there was something fishy about 
it. They put the heat on, and I couldn't stop talking. I tried 
to talk about everything except what they wanted. Maybe the 
Chinese hadn't enough experience with this dope. I would 
not have escaped so easily in Soviet Russia. I became woozy, 
and the last I remember is the floor slowly rising to meet my 
face. How long I passed out I don't know. When I came to 
I was terribly exhausted, but the effect of the drug was gone. 

236 Brainwashing 

The truce negotiations were nearing an end, and maybe they 
became more cautious. Anyway, I didn't see any more of that 
white powder." 

Such cases of drugging have only a temporary effect and 
carry little or no personal convictions with them. They be- 
long to the softening-up process and are intended to make a 
patient obey an order unthinkingly or to act against his 
better judgment. Drugs weaken a man's resistance and so con- 
stitute a valuable auxiliary in any such effort as hypnotism. 

The exact role that hypnotism plays in brainwashing is 
much more difficult to trace than any other element, even 
drugs. A man knows when he's hungry or tired, when he's 
tense, under threats, or has been beaten up. But he can have 
undergone a great deal of hypnotism without having a sus- 
picion of it. We have a very limited knowledge of the subject 
generally because it was not taken seriously until recently, 
when some doctors and hospitals began experimenting with 
it and a few dentists began to use it as a substitute for laugh- 
ing gas. 

The trance, or hypnotic state, is well known everywhere. 
The description of their reactions by many victims of brain- 
washing pictures exactly the same condition. What appears 
indisputable is that a form of trance state has been widely 
induced in Red China by repetitive interrogation and politi- 
cal learning within a controlled government. Fatigue and 
confusion demonstrably create the same state the hypnotist 
strives to achieve. 

We know little enough about individual hypnotism but 
less about mass hypnotism. Characteristics of a mass hypnotic 
state are frequently noted inside the Red borders. Such dema- 
gogues as Hitler unquestionably had some mass hypnotic 
influence. A demagogic environment has been duplicated 
inside the iron curtain, particularly in China. The system of 
government is so devised that the people have to go through 
hypnotic-inducing seances, disguised as study sessions and 
indoctrination courses. Thus the people are maintained in a 
hypersensitive condition, weakened by undernourishment 
and fatigue. 

What Brainwashing Is 237 

Almost every p.o.w. I spoke to who had any intensive de- 
gree of brainwashing, and certainly civilians such as Dr. 
Hayes, described a constant pressure on them that was identi- 
cal in essential points with what can be witnessed, compressed 
into a much shorter space of time, at any hypnotist's demon- 


The extraordinary Red stress on confession betrays the 
extreme importance they attach to it. The constant use of 
the words reform and rebirth in connection with it gives it 
a curiously medieval connotation. Something intrinsic in 
communism makes this confession phenomenon indispen- 
sable to it; it can't exist without it. The same confession rite 
has to be pursued in a simple village in the deep interior of 
China as in a Party meeting in Kiev or in a p.o.w. camp 
concealed in a twisting Korean valley. 

The way the communists use the word recalls its original 
meaning. In ancient days a prisoner of the Roman empire 
said, "I confess to the rule of Rome." This meant submission 
to both its religious and secular control. In the Middle Ages 
to confess the Latin rite meant, "I agree with the sum total 
of the dogma presented to me." The dictionary shows the 
word is derived from the Latin con and ficio. This meant "to 
be in conformity with." 

Although that interpretation has been lost during the 
intervening centuries, it is exactly in this psychological sense 
that the Reds have revived the word. The meaning in con- 
fession then, as the Reds now use it is agreement with the 
rules laid down and hence submission to the existing hier- 
archy. The implication in every confession i* submission to 
the domain. That is the framework in which the communists 
enforce it and what gives it a dominating role in their 

The Reds have made it the most vital part of their control 
mechanism. They do not have to tell people about this reflex 
attitude of submission in each confession. They merely insist 

238 Brainwashing 

that everyone perform this rite and go through the motions 
frequently enough for it to become second nature and ulti- 
mately part of the person's mentality. 

"They had us up all the time making self-criticisms and 
mutual criticisms and confessions," the returned p.o.w.'s said. 
They joked about the trivial, silly things they had to confess. 
They didn't realize — how could they? — that what was of pri- 
mary importance to the communists in the p.o.w. camps in 
Korea was not the sincerity of conversion but the much more 
practical goal of submission to their authority. What the 
Party wanted was obedience — submission. 

Each time a U.N. soldier stood up and used the words "I 
confess," his Red masters were confident that in the back of 
his mind a tiny trace at least of this intrinsic content of the 
word would filter down, even if only subconsciously. Each 
time he repeated it, they were certain a little more of this 
content was being rubbed onto his mentality. The commu- 
nists actually heard him saying each time, in their double- 
talk, "I submit," getting himself accustomed to the thought. 

Confession and "learning" constituted the daily routine of 
all brainwashing chambers. They are two sides of the brain- 
washing coin. This word learnings like confession, has a 
particular meaning to the Reds. By learning they mean com- 
munist indoctrination alone. The word has a new written 
character in Chinese, although its pronunciation is the same 
as the old word, which still remains in use in its ordinary 
sense. The subtlety in this hardly needs pointing out. The 
only way this difference, which is of such fundamental im- 
portance, can be indicated in English without going into a 
tedious explanation each time is to put the word inside 
quotation marks whenever this new Red meaning is meant. 

The communists well know the corrosive effect of repeti- 
tion on a man's mind and reactions. Chinese children in uni- 
son repeat the meaning of a new word, the character for 
which is a symbol. For all their lives henceforth, the meaning 
and the symbolic sense go together. Communist group meet- 
ings are largely conducted by that method of teaching. That 
is why nothing is more opposed by the communists than the 

What Brainwashing Is 239 

freedom to be silent. Everyone in a people's discussion must 
speak up. Everyone must express the communist point of 
view in his own words. Then he must rephrase it and con- 
tinue doing so endlessly, and listen to others do it for hours 
on end. The subject for repetition might be only a slight 
detail in Red dogma, but like children reciting a new word 
or phrase until they can never forget it, everyone must repeat 
this tiny bit of dogma until it becomes etched in his think- 
ing, becomes spontaneous. No wonder the released prisoners 
from brainwashing chambers anywhere — whether or not they 
come out influenced by the communist ideology — talk in a 
peculiar long-winded way for so long. The lingo has been 
drilled into their heads. 

The elements that go into brainwashing are intended to 
make the mind receptive to "learning" and to browbeat it 
into confession. "Learning" and confession are parallel ritu- 
als, for as the victim absorbs Marxist teaching, he is obliged 
to rid himself of the "burden" and the "poisons" of his old 
ideas by confession, "cleansing" his mind himself, achieving 
"mind reform." That is brainwashing for the masses. In a 
more intense form, it is brainwashing for prisoners. The line 
between the two in a communist society is gradually being 

The last thing captured U.N. troops expected when they 
were thrust into the dilapidated and disease-ridden p.o.w. 
camps established by the Reds in caves, mines, and huts in 
Korea was to come up against a school atmosphere. The study 
chamber was anywhere from a freezing Korean house to the 
bare exterior. A lecture lasted at least four hours. The p.o.w. 's 
usually wore thin fatigues and were always cold and hungry. 
Many died in the subzero weather, but the remainder had to 
stick it out. Attendance was announced as voluntary, except 
that those who failed to show up were not fed. Those who 
failed to join in the discussion were beaten up, some to death. 
The fiercest penalties were reserved for those who failed to 
confess, but when the chips were counted after it was all over, 
those who had given in easily got as bad treatment, even 
worse, than those who resisted the most. 

240 Brainwashing 

When the courses started, the fellows took them as a joke. 
The highlight was always confession. Nothing was too trivial 
to become the basis for a confession that had to be contritely 
uttered in front of one's group or before the entire assembly. 
Everyone had to listen grimly and discuss it in all its irrele- 
vant, far-fetched ramifications until it became a tremendously 
important issue. When one's mind became drowsy over the 
dullness and aimlessness of it all, you had to force yourself 
to pay attention. 

A complicated mechanism for the manufacture of con- 
fessions had been built up by the communists over the years. 
Proof of the utter unreliability and untruth of confessions 
did not seem to upset them. As far back as 1930, a group of 
accused Soviet engineers headed by a Professor Ramzin con- 
fessed to a plot to set up a counter-revolutionary government 
headed by two men who had died in exile years before. A 
witness told of arriving by air to visit Trotsky in Norway on 
a day no planes arrived, and another man said he conferred 
with Trotsky's son in a hotel that had burned down years 
previously. On several occasions, when a defendant denied 
his guilt, he was hustled off the dock until he was better pre- 
pared for public display. 

Yet the system was still adhered to religiously when the 
Reds set up their government in Peking. One of Mao's first 
acts was to start a nation-wide "mind reform" program that 
was brainwashing with its "learning"-confession complex. He 
extended it into the p.o.w. camps as soon as they were set up 
in Korea. 

The Reds hammered the point that the captured U.N. 
soldiers were war criminals, not mere prisoners. Each was a 
sinner against the Marxist faith. The communist theologians 
assumed that anyone who had lived in a non-Red environ- 
ment was "poisoned" by the "sins" of his society. He had to 
repent and "make amends to the people." Through con- 
fession, repentance and atonement, the p.o.w. was told that 
"the peoples of the world will forgive you." They could find 
out how to do this only by the "learning" procedure, of which 

What Brainwashing Is 241 

confession was the climax, leading to a new birth into the 
communist "paradise." 

So everyone had to confess. If a man couldn't think up an 
actual wrong, he was gravely told that anything would do, 
so long as it had any basis in fact or semantics. Everything in 
this new world became so topsy-turvy that such distinctions 
lost all meaning. In their browbeaten condition, a man would 
suddenly lose his nerve and go before his indoctrinator or 
group and needlessly confess to stealing food. Could submis- 
sion have been any more pronounced? He might have filched 
a bit to appease his hunger or with a slim hope that he might 
need this nourishment some day if some rescue plan was 
being put into effect or he tried to escape. He would lose his 
nerve and confess and be punished, perhaps by being thrust 
into the hole, an open pit in the ground, or squeezed into a 
''meter box," a box one meter wide, long and high, with 
handcuffs and leg irons. Death was not infrequently the re- 
ward for such voluntary confession. 

"Confess, for we have already proved you a liar," was one 
of the constant cries of the brainwasher, and a man would 
worry himself sick trying to unravel what wasn't even a knot, 
but only a fake rope trick. 

The confession pattern seemed to appeal to certain types 
of individuals. Confession had a symbolic sense for a man 
with high moral training. Others who were exhibitionists or 
appeared to enjoy flagellating themselves went for it in a big 
way. Like most everything else in the twisted communist 
society, it attracted the very naive and the abnormal men- 

The brainwasher's insistence that a man rid himself of 
"bourgeois poisons" was like mumbo-jumbo. Only when a 
chap had been brainwashed this way did he fail to see that 
far from "helping the people," he was only betraying his 
buddies and his country. Clarity of mind was needed to see 
through this, and the whole Red drive was to make a brain 
foggy instead. 

How could a chap with only a few years of education and 
little or no Sunday school, who had gone directly into the 

242 Brainwashing 

military as a raw recruit, who found himself in Korea a few 
months later and in a p.o.w. camp a few months after that — 
all before his twenty-first birthday — see through such sleight- 
of-hand when people at home were daily falling for card 
sharks, quack doctors, and communist fronts in spite of all 
the warnings given about such sharp practices? 

Yet such was part of the personal story of many. One such 
was Claude Batchelor, the Texas country boy who broke 
away from the wretched group which said it didn't want to 
go home and who is now serving twenty years, reduced from 
life. When I interviewed him before his trial, he was filling 
reams, it seemed, of foolscap pages with "thought conclu- 
sions," "thought criticisms," and all sorts of modern magic 
picked up from the Reds. He was criticizing himself in the 
confession manner. The heap of pages he filled should make 
instructive reading for psychiatrists. 

The communists have made confession the medium for 
their principal propaganda drive among their own subject 
peoples. They first determine the conclusion they wish to 
put across, then they select the details which add up to this 
fake hypothesis. Their problem then boils down to finding 
people with experience approximating these details as closely 
as possible. By befogging the minds, they endeavor to con- 
vince them that they fill the bill! 

Once they locate such prospects for confession, and it is 
not difficult in any large number of persons to find every 
kind of experience, the rest becomes a technical problem for 
the brainwashers. When a man's beaten mind desperately 
grasps for familiar facts, he is led into confusion and hallu- 
cination. That is when the Reds extract their fantastic con- 
fessions. They concentrate a man's mind on certain details, 
some of which may be perfectly true, and once accepted, they 
rearrange them into the pattern they wish, to provide the 
new, false conclusion they are after. This is their technique, 
in all its utter and evil simplicity, like a black mass. 

This was a subject I decided to take up more completely 
with a psychiatrist. 



Dr. Leon Freedom 

Dr. Freedom has a medical name for brainwashing. He called 
it "corticovisceral psychiatry." During our extensive discus- 
sions, I asked him for a bird's-eye picture of the process, the 
simple along with the complex. "How does it look inside a 
doctor's clinic?" I asked. After all, his field was neuropsy- 
chiatry — the working of the nervous system, with its base 
in the brain. 

In reply, he traced the road that every human being follows 
in life and showed the numerous points at which the brain- 
washer — he called him the corticovisceral psychiatrist — was 
able to interfere in the normal path, putting up a roadblock 
or directing the patient onto a new route, leading him off in 
an entirely new direction. 

"The only way to get a rounded picture of this situation," 
he said, "is to look upon it from the viewpoint of a single 
individual, call him Hamid, Rudolf, or Lim — it is imma- 
terial who — for everyone develops the same way. We must 
begin by understanding the basic facts about this typical 
person, because it is exactly with those factors that the in- 
doctrinator works. 

"We start off with the obvious premise that every human 
being thinks, reacts, and behaves. None of us differ in that, 
but the way we do those things makes up our character and 
determines the kind of person we are. The Reds apply their 
pressure on these simple, fundamental traits in the isolated 

"The indoctrinator carefully differentiates between various 


244 Brainwashing 

types of people. One type inspires obedience and is bound 
to be a leader. The reticent type can sit in an office for six 
months without his colleagues knowing his name. The mild 
type is as gentle as a bunny rabbit. There is the hard, can- 
tankerous type who is sometimes vicious or even evil. The 
worry bird is full of doubts about whether a job has been 
properly done. The impulsive type wants to do everything 
right then and there, and the apathetic, listless type isn't 
aroused one way or another by anything. 

"These different kinds of people all have subconscious 
needs. Sometimes they are unaware of them, but aware or 
not, these needs are always subconsciously present. They are 
expressed by thoughts and feelings while working or at a 
party, or in bed, dreaming. Conflict arises in everyone be- 
tween these responses that a man knows he has and those of 
which he is unaware or which are suppressed. Nobody actu- 
ally realizes what is going on in his own subconscious mind. 
The brainwasher is trained to increase such conflict and to 
manipulate these responses. 

"Every man has a great many basic needs. He requires 
affection and approval. He has biological needs, which are 
instinctive, for food, shelter, sex, warmth, and clothing. 
People are gregarious and cannot endure being isolated, so 
every man has social needs, too. Also, he requires a sense of 

"All these needs obviously cannot be completely satisfied 
at the same time. How a person deals with his unsatisfied 
needs determines whether they develop into a frustration. A 
correct, tolerant approach maintains a healthy balance in life. 

"Frustration brings about a sense of defeat, which is one 
of the traits the brainwasher seeks to arouse. He knows what 
a very useful tool defeatism is to communism. Either frus- 
tration or sense of defeat leads to resentment. Doctors and 
psychiatrists try to remove resentment because they know 
how dangerous it is to the mind. The indoctrinator, on the 
contrary, exerts a great deal of energy inciting and aggravat- 
ing it, for out of resentment he creates hostility. 

"This is one of the most important responses that he con- 

The Clinical Analysis 245 

stantly seeks to bring out. Only one short step separates hos- 
tility from outright hate. Communism puts very great em- 
phasis on hate. Without a foundation in hatred, communism 
would perish. When the brainwasher has succeeded in fo- 
menting hate, he is well on the way to achieving his main 
objective, which is always some pro-communist activity. The 
customary reaction of a person fostering a hostility or a hate 
is to project it outside himself. The communist psychological 
planners decide the direction that this projection takes. The 
importance of this cannot be exaggerated. 

'In projection, a person attributes to others the ideas and 
the impulses that he has himself, or which he thinks others 
hold toward him. The individual who blames another for his 
own mistakes is using this projection mechanism. 

"Anyone who has picked up frustrated or resentful feel- 
ings in his normal environment is that much easier for the 
brainwasher to handle. He is already softened up to that 
extent. The purpose of the Red screening process, with its 
exhaustive prolonged questioning, is to locate just such per- 
sons. When found, all the indoctrinator has to do is to keep 
working away at the hostile feeling already in the individual. 

"The brainwasher aims at arousing hatred and then pro- 
jecting it against a target chosen by the Politbureau. The 
individual may have nothing against this person or group, 
but it becomes his enemy willy-nilly. The brainwasher's task 
is to focus the specially fanned or artificially created hate on 
the man's own friends, society, and country. They, not him- 
self, are to blame for his troubles. 

"Inside himself, a person who is succumbing to what the 
communists call mind reform' feels upset over what he 
senses is the misdirection of his pent-up emotions. He feels 
guilty about it. The rise of this hostility and hate, too, es- 
pecially when aimed against his own side, foments additional 
feelings of guilt. They provide the brainwasher with a further 
opening, and he seizes every opportunity to stir up this 
witch's brew of disturbing emotions. 

"Guilt feelings are aroused also in other ways. Failure to 
meet a standard of achievement or conduct is a very frequent 

246 Brainwashing 

guilt stimulus. Practically everyone has not fulfilled all his 
boyhood hopes. The brainwasher seeks to discover these very 
normal failings so as to take advantage of them and to ham- 
mer them into a guilt complex. No matter how guilt arises, 
it is equally useful to the indoctrinator for projection pur- 

"In order to rid himself of a guilt feeling, a person's natu- 
ral tendency is to project it away from himself. This is just 
what the brainwasher has been waiting for so he can step in 
and decide where it will strike. 

"Notice how all these responses are like gears, shifting suc- 
cessively from one mind-corrosive stage to the next, each more 
unsatisfactory than the preceding until, in mad desperation, 
the man dashes his head against any wall that the Reds put in 
front of him. 

"The brainwasher, during his entire contact with the pa- 
tient, attempts to sow doubt into his mind. No matter how 
strong a person may be, the moment doubt settles in his 
mind, it leads to tension. Tension is related to fear. The 
guilt complex also brings about fear. This is still one more 
point of attack for the indoctrinator. Fear has given commu- 
nism some of its most astounding victories, often at little or 
no cost in blood or money. 

"Fear is the expression of an unsatisfied need for survival 
and security. The first reactions to fear are nervousness, ten- 
sion, apprehension, and depression. Instead of relieving the 
situation, they make the need for security and self-protection 
even more acutely felt. A deadly spiral is set up and the 
brainwasher keeps it spinning round and round, faster and 
faster, until the man breaks down. 

"Out of fear comes the desire to retaliate. This is the reac- 
tion toward which the brainwasher has been working all the 
time. Once aroused, he has only to project it against whom- 
ever the Reds want to strike. What is especially interesting is 
that this desire to retaliate does not have to be projected 
against others. A person can aim it against himself, as he usu- 
ally does when he is unable to direct it against someone else. 
Then he punishes himself, giving himself up sacrificially in 

The Clinical Analysis 24'; 

any rash venture that the communists suggest. He eagerly 
plays the martyr. 

"The indoctrinator uses all these elements in arousing and 
exploiting tension-creating responses, which are clinically 
known as psychosomatic or corticovisceral responses. These 
come from such sensations as hunger, pain, rage, and fear. 

"In manipulating responses, the brainwasher strictly fol- 
lows the Pavlovian line, considering body and mind as an 
integral unit. He goes on the Pavlovian assumption that any 
outside stimulus can be made to create any desired mental 
and physical reaction if enough emphasis is put on it, and 
especially if this can be done inside a controlled environment. 

"He uses a physical means to induce a mental response, 
and vice versa. When he can produce such a reaction, the 
indoctrinator has little difficulty in projecting it in any direc- 
tion he wishes. 

"Sheer physical responses are most handy for him here. 
Consider one of the most recognizable. When induced by 
fright, a man's legs stiffen, his hair stands up, his skin be- 
comes moist and his mouth dry. His heart beats fast. This 
response spreads to his intestinal tract with results that every- 
one knows. In such a state, the body prepares for fight or 
flight. More red blood cells are pumped into the blood, to 
carry an extra load of oxygen or fuel, and to produce more 
coagulating substance which is needed to heal possible 

"At the same time, the brain's customary process of receiv- 
ing and sending messages is short-circuited, which brings 
about a purely emotional reaction. There is no time for 
reasoning. All delay has to be avoided in order to meet the 
supposed or actual emergency in time. 

"Artificially induced pressures, such as a state of chronic 
fatigue, deprive a man of the strength to combat repetitious 
suggestions until he starts to doubt his own thoughts and 
convictions. When he reaches this state, he begins to live in a 
realm of fantasies and false beliefs. He becomes wax in the 
hands of his brainwasher who knows, of course, exactly what 
he wants from him. 

248 Brainwashing 

"What happens in each instance is that a symbolic signifi- 
cance has been transferred into an organic behavior. When 
tension cannot be relieved by a verbal expression, behavior 
has to find an outlet, and it expresses itself this way. The 
brainwaSher achieves this by a treatment that is very much 
like injecting small doses of poison into a man's bloodstream 
at intervals. He tampers with a man's make-up this way at 
different stages in the development of the case. 

"In capsule form, the whole process is a series of pressures, 
including arrest or house detention, isolation from outside 
sources of information, interrogation, endless and repetitive 
assertions by teams of psychological workers, fatigue, malnu- 
trition, exhaustion, autosuggestion and, finally, the emer- 
gence of obsessions, hysterical states, and delusion states, in 
which confessions are freely given and the subject can no 
longer distinguish his beliefs from reality or properly recall 
his past fund of information." 

Dr. Freedom stressed that the traits which were deliberately 
encouraged by the brainwasher were the same as those he 
himself diagnosed in his clinic as responsible for illness or 
mental upset. The Reds were using the highly specialized 
knowledge of medical science to take balanced minds and to 
make them unbalanced. This approach, and this alone, was 
their contribution to modern thought. 

Every psychiatrist is familiar with the attitudes and stresses 
that have settled into a person's system until he becomes a 
medical or a mental case. Dr. Freedom's research confirmed 
that the communists created such unhealthy conditions in 
order to project the resultant hate and desire for retaliation 
in the direction decided by the Red planners. This was the 
exact opposite of the efforts of medical science in the Free 
World, which were directed toward discovering the source of 
a patient's mental disorder. The psychiatrist tries to trace this 
by the path it came. He may find that it stemmed from re- 
sentment, and that this emanated from a feeling of inade- 
quacy and inferiority, or of anxiety and insecurity. In this 
manner, the psychiatrist uncovers the unsatisfied need that 
has made a man sick. Brainwashers do exactly the same, only 

The Clinical Analysis 249 

in reverse order, setting up destructive responses so as to 
upset a person's mind for the purpose of exploiting him for 
political reasons. 

"The methods devised by the Free World to combat illness 
are used by the communists to create it," Dr. Freedom re- 
peated. ''That is why brainwashing can only be properly 
understood and dealt with as man-made illness." 

The most diabolical intrigues of the past never descended 
to such dark, unstirred depths. There is something repulsive 
and against nature in it. This is not easy for the normal mind 
to grasp. Once realization dawns on a person, he is revolted 
by it. The tendency of the good-willed mind is to cast off 
such shocking information by the safety valve of disbelief. 
Pavlov referred to this sort of reaction as the "inhibitory 
process." The all-too-frequent, very human response is, "I 
just won't believe it." Pavlov called this type of reaction, 
"conditioned inhibition." He was dealing with the reflexes 
of animals, but the comparison with humans is perfect. By 
bringing all those unpleasant facts out into the open, the 
evil that is inherent in communism becomes glaringly ap- 

When exposed to the light of day, people instinctively 
would want to fight it, if only out of a sense of self-preserva- 
tion. That is why a totalitarian state can only survive by 
maintaining an iron curtain, what Dr. Freedom calls a con- 
ditioned or a controlled environment. 

The Reds themselves have thought up nothing in brain- 
washing, or in any other phase of psychiatry. Dr. Freedom 
emphasized. "All that they have done is to take what free 
science has developed and use it in a manner that would 
ordinarily be considered mad," he said. "There isn't anything 
original about what they are doing, only in the way they are 
doing it. Their single innovation has been to use what they 
copy in a diabolical order. Their objective is solely to make 
minds sick, not healthy, to create frustrations and to fan them 
into hates, so they can be projected against their own subjects 
and the Free World." 

250 Brainwashing 


Some of the most inspiring words I heard were the reac- 
tions of Dr. Freedom upon hearing some of the brainwashing 
cases I had come upon. When I was anywhere in the vicinity 
of Baltimore, I would hotfoot it to his home immediately. At 
such times I would go painstakingly over my notes with him. 

One such unforgettable incident was the case of the Ne- 
groes who had resisted Red flattery and force. At once after 
my interviews with Bob Wyatt and Russell Freeman, I 
visited the Freedoms. On both occasions we stayed up very 
late discussing them. The Freedoms were as thrilled as I. 

"Left to themselves, with only the barest formal education 
to fall back upon," Dr. Freedom told me, "these Negro citi- 
zens had struck upon devices that were clinically perfect. 
They couldn't have been improved upon! They didn't let 
themselves be led astray in all sorts of intellectual by-paths 
full of sophistry and traps. They made up their minds that 
they were not going to listen to that kind of talk. They had 
a perfect reason. They went down to bedrock and kept their 
minds focused on underlying truths. They never let them 
selves lose sight of these. 

"One such fundamental fact was that the Reds were at war 
with us. As this was true, they held to the obvious conclusion 
that the communists could not be meaning us any good. They 
noticed the way they were being fed the communist argu- 
ments and saw that what it boiled down to was force. The 
fact that they used force to put their ideas across meant they 
were lying. These colored prisoners simply had sense enough 
to come out of the rain! 

"Another fact they didn't lose sight of was that the Reds 
were certainly not going to give them any more out of life 
than they already had in their own society. The enemy was 
persuasive and seductive, as well as vindictive and untruth- 
ful, so the problem these prisoners faced, once they reached 
these conclusions, was how to keep themselves from being 
seduced in spite of themselves. 

The Clinical Analysis 251 

"They well knew how weak a man's resistance became when 
he was hungry and tired, worn out through and through, 
with his mind in a fog. They had to find a way to remind 
themselves at all times to be on their guard, not to be taken 
in by an unexpected piece of candy or a sudden increase in 
rations, not to listen to flattery. They had to be most alert at 
those moments especially when they were least able. So they 
struck upon a device that was psychologically a stroke of 

"The simplest and surest way to remind yourself not to 
listen to something is to interfere with your listening ap- 
paratus. A child instinctively puts his hands over his ears 
when told something unpleasant. That is what they did, in 
effect. Using dirty needles to puncture their ear lobes, causing 
minor infections, and the piercing with anything handy, 
which led to swellings, were the best possible things they 
could have done. They could theoretically have had the ear- 
piercing done by the finest surgeons on earth, in the most 
up-to-date hospital, with the most hygienic instruments pos- 
sible, so they would suffer no discomfort whatsoever. But 
then they would have sacrificed the whole purpose of the 
operation, which was to remind themselves not to listen. 
They did not allow themselves to be distracted by incidentals 
from their end purpose. Fortunately, they hadn't the facili- 
ties and were handling themselves on the basis of their long- 
acquired hunches. 

"As long as the infections persisted, they had a constant 
reminder, 'Don't listen; beware!' As long as they remem- 
bered, that was all that was necessary. They needed a symbol 
of resistance, too. This could give support to the reminder. 
What better symbol could they have picked than the cross, 
which means succor and help? So long as they remembered 
the symbol, they didn't have to have real gold crosses, as 
their sophisticated brethren would have required. Anything 
could replace the symbol, even bits of straw. They did not, 
as unfortunately happens so frequently, begin to accept the 
symbol as the objective, instead of being the constant re- 

252 Brainwashing 

"They were their own best psychiatrists. The tragedy and 
lesson in it is that they had to resort to such simple devices 
to protect themselves. America and humanity generally 
should be very proud o£ those men. They have shown what 
can be accomplished, even behind the curtain." 

I also discussed with Dr. Freedom the weird emphasis that 
the Reds put on confession. They borrowed it from religion 
for purposes of politics, but used it in a way that put it into 
the psychiatrist's field. 

Dr. Freedom said confession was analogous to a psychologi- 
cal catharsis — a mental purge. This explained the Red stress 
on what they called self-criticism and mutual criticism, al- 
ways within the group structure. Out of this, he said, came 
what psychiatrists term resistances, transferences, and coun- 
ter-transferences. The entire process was similar to the 
familiar clinical practice known as free association. By it, the 
individual's defenses are removed, his resistances overcome, 
and his various complexes revealed. By uncovering forgotten 
or buried experiences, the psychiatrist discovers the basis for 
his patient's approach to problems and his attitude regarding 
them. He then removes the psychological dynamite from the 
complexes, which could explode if kept compressed. 

I had frequently noticed how interested brainwashers were 
in a man's thoughts while asleep, his dreams. "Why were you 
restless, what were you dreaming about?" were standard 
questions when a subject did not sleep well. As privacy is 
taboo under communism, guards were ordered to report such 
unconscious reactions. Psychiatrists know that dreams are im- 
portant as a source of much information. The nightmare is 
one phase, disclosing hidden desires and secret fears. What 
was in effect dream analysis was still another road the Reds 
took into a man's private thoughts. Nothing was permitted 
to remain private under communism if the Reds could find 
a way to intrude. 

Dr. Freedom pointed out that the various types of Red 
meetings were actually "clinical sessions in which the sym- 
bolism of complex situations, which were emotionally 
charged, were talked over again and again. That gave a sense 

The Clinical Analysis 253 

of relief, and confidences and secrets were easily ferreted out. 
Confessions gave relief by unburdening the patient of fears, 
guilt complexes, and shame. 

"All this gave the Communist Party a constant flow of ma- 
terial for use in blocking future conduct — for purge trials 
and control measures generally. When an individual was 
strong in his feeling of guiltlessness and did not feel shame, 
the communist brainwashers methodically set out in their 
ruthlessly practical manner to create the guilt sense and 
shame, using any available means to do so." 

The Red p.o.w. camps were simply large clinical labora- 
tories in which the prisoners were dealt with as patients and 
as mental cases. Whole populations are also treated in this 
way, which is why the Reds need their bamboo-iron curtain. 
Visitors and other contact with the outside would impede or 
wreck the course of treatment laid down for these captive 
peoples. The "cure" is made when people's minds are 
changed. The objective is to alter their natures, to bring 
about that robot creature endowed only with instincts, the 
"new Soviet man." 

That gross parody of medical practice requires fear to 
make it work. The eternal distrust and suspicion met with in 
all Red society, as Dr. Freedom pointed out so graphically, 
are fear elements. All autocratic and dictatorial societies are 
based on fear. They are all controlled societies. These reach 
their peak in the totalitarian regime. 

Fear permeates everyone in such a society, from the ruler 
down to his most abject subject. The Reds arranged their 
environment in such a way that fear is always present. Never 
has a more complicated political structure been erected than 
the communist, layer on top of layer. An equivalent control 
mechanism had to be devised to defend it from within as well 
as from outside: total conformity in thought as well as deed, 
a psychic penetration of the mind. Otherwise there could be 
no dependable Party discipline, the fundamental safeguard 
for communism. Equipped with the advantages given by 
modern science, the Reds have adopted the latest psychiatric 
methods in order to achieve mind control. Whereas psy- 

254 Brainwashing 

chiatry strives to free the individual's mind from fear, the 
Reds use the same methods to inject selected fears into the 
mentality of their patients. They use what they have learned 
about a mind's defense mechanism as a weapon to invade the 

The psychiatrist recognizes the natural recourse of people 
to God in time of emergency. The Red indoctrinator strives 
simply to get onto that road and replace God with the Party. 
The psychiatrist seeks to expose and eliminate repressed emo- 
tions, to release a weight such as an inferiority or persecution 
complex. The Reds endeavor simply to divert all this to their 
own use. Instead of curing the complex, they create it if it 
isn't there already, so the natural search for an outlet can be 
diverted from normal channels to trust in themselves. That is 
why the world has witnessed an organization that started out 
as a political movement degenerate into a fanatical faith. 
This was inescapable once the total approach was determined 

Victims of brainwashing, including returned p.o.w.'s, fre- 
quently told me about their brainwasher going into a tan- 
trum, becoming almost panicky in his insistence on a con- 
fession. The inquisitors were under the same pressures as 
others to accomplish the task set for them, to fulfill their 
work quota. If they failed, they were severely penalized, as 
any other worker in this dog-eat-dog system. 

The communists justified this by saying that failure to 
complete an assignment showed lack of Marxist understand- 
ing. If an examiner were truly sincere in his materialistic 
faith, the Red argument goes, he would be successful in per- 
suading his prisoner of the communist truth, and then the 
man would naturally do the correct thing — confess whatever 
crime had been trumped up against him. 

I could not help being struck by the demonstration of fear 
the brainwashers themselves gave in their anxiety to expand 
the field of fear in their victims and use it for Red purposes. 
The insistence on confession, as described by its victims to 
me, seemed to fill some need in the brainwasher, too, as well 
as satisfy his Party superiors. The prisoner's confession 

The Clinical Analysis 255 

seemed needed by the brain washer to relieve his own mind! 
I brought this up with Dr. Freedom. 

He declared this is the natural result of such proceedings. 
The disillusioning asisgnments given to Red functionaries, 
conflicting with the simple beliefs and ideals with which 
many of them had been lured into the Party, create agonizing 
conflicts in their own mind. Whom can they discuss these 
with? Nobody! Everyone is in the same boat. While some 
harden themselves, very much as a criminal does, others find 
no peace. 

Fear permeates both sides in the communist confession 
ritual. The man who stands up and confesses does so out of 
fear, and the inquisitor needs to hear it to quench his own 
fears. Both are in the same plight. The communist hierarchy 
depends on these confessions just as much to lay aside its own 
searing doubts. Only this way can they lift the weight of guilt 
and fear from their own minds. When such confessions are 
not forthcoming, they have to be exacted, even at the cost of 
concocting crimes out of thin air. Their tremendous burden 
of guilt can only be removed by everyone else taking the 
blame, absolving the top. Only by listening to confessions by 
all these others can they lay aside their own fundamental lack 
of assurance, and remove from their minds for a while the 
haunting contradictions that plague them. Confession is a 
drug to them; the more they take of it, the more they need 
and the more sadistic they become, transferring the blame 
for their own evil deeds to those poor, confessing scapegoats. 
The circle is vicious to the nth degree. 

The fake crime the authorities insist on must be confessed 
with concreteness. Where evidence is lacking, it is manu- 
factured, for nothing must stand in the way of this bizarre 
rationalization. They doubt, and the more they do so the 
more they have to dope themselves with fake confessions. 
That breeds even more doubts, and more confessions have to 
be squeezed out to quiet the hysteria in them. The man who 
makes the faked confession is a less tragic character than the 
officials on whose behalf it is exacted. The former's plight is 
less complex; he can see an end. The latter cannot; they have 

256 Brainwashing 

to be fed more and more confessions to ease the gnawing at 
their insides. The totalitarian state depends on confessions to 
cleanse its own guilt from the record and to proclaim its own 

The need for artificial evidence to justify confession has 
given rise to a complicated brainwashing mechanism. Yet 
however constant, unceasing, and plausible the confessions 
sound, they always are inadequate, the subterfuge never fully 
satisfies. Confession becomes a desperate form of play-acting, 
each side having to go through the show with poker faces so 
as not to break the spell. 

When the softening-up process in brainwashing is success- 
ful and is accompanied by sufficient indoctrination, the whole 
act can take place within the person of the accused. He can 
be his own make-believe character, rationalized by Red dia- 
lectics which hold that everything in nature is in flux, in- 
cluding truth. Only change and struggle are recognized. Only 
their own communism can defy this natural law of theirs, 
only communism remains stable and unchanging according 
to their doctrine. That is where the faith comes in their 
quack religion. 

The sole stability, they teach, is in the eternal verity of the 
communist cause. Using this as the sole standard, they judge 
all truth and falsity. Under this hypothesis, they consider as 
truth only that which upholds the communist line; every- 
thing else is untruth, lies! The good and the bad are similarly 
defined by them. The good is what advances the cause of 
communism. The bad is what hurts communism. No excep- 
tions are recognized. No religion has ever been more fanatical 
in its adherence to dogma. 

In this framework, individual guilt is a minor matter; 
what weighs heaviest on a man is his guilt as a member of a 
collectivity. He is guilty for the sins of his forebears and for 
all the wrongs committed by his kind. The limitless-responsi- 
bility theory has him hemmed in. He loses a sense of indi- 
viduality in time or space. Confession becomes easier that 
way, and voluntary, too, of crimes he never committed, of 
crimes that never took place. Whether they actually hap- 

The Clinical Analysis 257 

pened, in the form confessed, becomes irrelevant. What is 
relevant is his need to cleanse himself of this heavy burden, 
of original sin, the sin of having belonged to a bourgeois 
society, of having forebears who were not communists. 

Any crime, existent or nonexistent, can become the handle 
for a communist rebirth in this earthly faith. Cleansing for 
it requires confession. This is mysticism pure and simple. An 
infinite amount of wearying, circuitous thinking is required 
to reach such a mental state, for otherwise it would be recog- 
nized at once as crazily off the beam. A child could see 
through it if expressed in simple language. Even this is 
feared, so the child has to begin indoctrination — brainwash- 
ing — from the cradle, to get the inherited impulses from a 
non-communist past out of his subconscious. Communist 
training starts when the child begins schooling. From then 
on he must learn to speak this new, mystic tongue. Plain 
words and straight thinking must arouse a sense of naughti- 
ness, to be avoided as a temptation of the devil, the bourgeois 
devil. This gives communism its superficial appearance of 

The Red priest and his congregation must put themselves 
into a virtual trance for this in their churchlike service that 
they call a "people's democratic discussion meeting." That is 
the immediate objective of communal brainwashing and is 
why every man, woman, and child under communism must 
experience it. That is why they have to undergo flagellation 
and self-humiliation and self-abasement. Intricate ceremoni- 
als have to be gone through to make the mind light and 
bring about this trance state. What it actually brings on is 
utter submission, the goal of the whole confession phenome- 
non, the key to the communist program for world expansion, 
to which everything is subordinated. Confess is the magic 
word which, like an electronic push button, operates the 
gears of the whole control mechanism. 

Each time a U.N. soldier stood up and used the words "I 
confess" in the Red p.o.w. camp, and each time a iiiissionary 
or merchant did so in a brainwashing chamber inside the 
communist belt of countries, the mystic Pavlovians of high 

258 Brainwashing 

communism knew that he was saying, "You're the boss." Each 
time he repeated it, he was rubbing a little more of that psy- 
chological content of the words *1 submit" into his men- 
tality. In Red double-talk, he was being made accustomed to 
submission without knowing it. That is the framework on 
which communism imposes confession of captives and com- 
rades alike. 

National Neuroses 

If brainwashing can make a single individual neurotic, 
what about the inhabitants of a village, or a city, or even a 
country, when subjected to these same pressures? There is no 
doubt any longer that this type of mind attack is being waged 
against entire populations, not only against a few foreigners 
trapped inside Red borders and on nationals regarded as 
"backward elements" by the Reds. 

The only possible conclusion is that a long-range program 
is being pursued which, if left unhindered over a long period, 
will make whole populations just as neurotic as a single in- 

I presented this problem to Dr. Freedom, leaving in his 
hands a pile of translated communist statements and litera- 
ture about "re-education" and "mind reform," which ranged 
from official declarations to picture-story books, fiction, and 

When next we met he was very grim. "The documentation 
you left with me confirms how the communists fit everything 
into a broad strategy," he said. "All or most of the techniques 
used therapeutically by neuropsychiatrists and psychiatrists 
for the rehabilitation of mentally ill patients are employed 
by the communist hierarchy to produce hysterical and obses- 
sive delusional states in the populations under their domina- 

The identical process of brainwashing, as imposed on 
civilian or military prisoners, is being applied to the inhabi- 
tants of whole villages, towns, and cities by "group discus- 
sion" and "learning" meetings, frequent demonstrations. 

The Clinical Analysis 259 

parades, and an endless chain of so-called patriotic cam- 
paigns. Group leaders, corresponding to "block captains" for 
neighborhood festivities in the West, make sure that every- 
one participates, until each area is molded into the desired 
form. Individual treatment is reserved mainly for "backward 
elements" who lag behind in their "conversion." 

The Chinese as a race are undergoing mind treatment in- 
side a Great Pavlovian Wall. In the new collective approach, 
that which medical science recognizes as causing neurosis in 
an individual is being applied on a nation-wide scale. It is 
imposed in a subtle way on the peoples of China specifically, 
and on the inhabitants of every communist country. They 
are undergoing what the disciples of Pavlov callously term 
"mental hygiene." The process is a parody of "group thera- 
py," the treatment of patients in a group instead of individ- 
ually. This developed out of World War II, along with put- 
ting patients back on their feet within a few days after an 
operation, at first because time was pressing and doctors were 
scarce and later because this was found more healing. A New 
York psychiatrist named Dr. Wilfred Hulse, who served in 
World War II, told me how group therapy for mental crack- 
ups started out of necessity at the Battle of the Bulge. If it 
could be utilized to repair minds on a wide scale, the Reds 
saw that it could also serve to break them. 

A saturation treatment is being given to communist so- 
ciety. The routine of each day and night is so arranged that 
the people simply cannot escape from the sight and sound of 
communist propaganda pressures. The spoken and the writ- 
ten word are injected into every conceivable phase of working 
and leisure time. Writings are prescriptions, not stories. En- 
tertainment is sugar-coating for mind pills. 

The list of characters in a Chinese communist play about 
indoctrination processes, entitled The Question of Thought^, 
when removed from its dramatic wrapping, could be in- 
cluded in a physiologist's textbook as representative of the 
varied types in modern Chinese society. The play has curious 
similarities in structure to Cardinal Wiseman's drama 
Fahiola, written almost exactly a hundred years before. The 

26o Brainwashing 

identical emotions are awakened, only the emphasis in Fabiola 
is in one direction, while in The Question of Thought it is 
in the opposite. Both were written in the pattern of the 
Christian morality plays that began about the year 1200. 

In Fabiola all strata of life in early Rome are represented, 
including rich man, soldier, farmer, slave, peasant, and civil 
servant. In each of these two plays, in accordance with the 
contrasting standards of their societies, the virtues of honor, 
integrity, chastity, modesty, and courage were opposed, in 
the persons of the cast, to the vices of cupidity, arrogance, 
pride, timidity, unctuousness, and falsity. The reason for the 
almost hysterical enthusiasm evoked by these plays was that 
they fulfilled the desire of human beings anywhere to iden- 
tify themselves with what the environment considered good 
and triumphant, in a cause presented as ideal, and in the 
person of a hero or heroine. 

The characters in the Red drama were deliberately made 
neurotic by persuasion, autosuggestion, duress, and imita- 
tion. Peasants and workers were lured by double-talk and 
double-think into the exact opposite of what they knew in 
their hearts was good. This is why communist literature is 
not entrusted to a single individual to write, but is produced 
by collective authorship in a controlled committee frame- 
work. In this way, each sentence can be gone over again and 
again by "able Party members" to make sure that it contains 
the exact psychological effect desired by the communist mind 

"These techniques are obviously the result of profound 
study by Soviet planners into national characteristics, based 
on Pavlovian principles that the nervous mechanism is the 
chief link in all processes occurring in the organism, and that 
the organism's conditions of life constitute the determining 
factor in its behavior," Dr. Freedom explained. 

The same set of psychological techniques are used against 
the young, the middle-aged, and whatever segments of the 
aged the communist hierarchy believes are worth salvaging. 
They are applied with particular intensity to the very young 
and the teen-agers. If this manipulation of minds is able to 

The Clinical Analysis 261 

continue unhampered, within a comparatively few years a 
"new youth" will be produced with blind spots in their 
minds, making them oblivious to anything not acceptable to 
Pavlovian symbolism. 

"This will create a nation of hysterically inflamed people 
obsessed with the idea that they have to destroy us before we 
destroy them," Dr. Freedom warned. 

Such a form of fanaticism, which in the case of the indi- 
vidual has already crossed the dividing line that separated 
it from mental unbalance or actual clinical insanity, is being 
induced on a national scale by the Reds, with a world scale 
the ultimate objective. 

This calculated creation of national neurosis is incon- 
trovertibly the greatest threat ever posed against human so- 
ciety. A people with such a streak in them cannot listen to 
reason, for they are conditioned into simply not hearing it. 
Ordinary logic can have no effect on such a body of men. 
They, like the individual neurotic, require a cure, something 
fundamentally different than the give and take of a New 
England town meeting. 

Additional confirmation of the paramount importance 
with which communism regards the mass-scale Pavlovian ap- 
proach is provided by the extensive training courses and ex- 
perimentation being conducted by Soviet Russia and Red 
China. In China, the exchange of prisoners of war in Korea 
was followed within a few weeks by a series of Pavlovian 
study sessions. The setbacks and successes obtained by brain- 
washing in the p.o.w. camps were studied, so that the next 
time prisoners are seized the indoctrinators will have an im- 
proved technique to go on, based on what they learned from 
past experience. 

A large Pavlov conference by physicians, physiologists, psy- 
chologists and biologists was held at Peking in September, 
1953. Kuo Mo-jo, an archaeologist who had been preaching 
Marxism since 1925, gave the opening address. He was a gov- 
ernment official exclusively engaged in propaganda work at 
home and abroad. He had no role in a conference of medical 
people, except to set its psychological warfare tone. The 

262 Brainwashing 

official Chinese communist news agency reported that these 
medical practitioners attended classes where they were taught 
"the universal truth of Marxism- Leninism as applied to Pav- 
lov's work," that he was a "militant materialist" and that his 
theories were "permeated with the thought of dialectical 
materialism." The forum voted, in the usual unanimous 
manner, that it was necessary to learn Marxism-Leninism in 
order to understand Pavlov. 

The delegates "participated in the experimental work on 
conditioned reflexes conducted by the specialists in psychol- 
ogy of the National University and the China Union Medical 
College," the dispatch said. "A tentative outline for the study 
and discussion of the Pavlov theories was drawn up," to be 
participated in "by the entire scientific circles of the country." 

Five months later, in February, 1954, the Kwangming 
Daily y frequently used as the Government voice in scientific 
matters, reported that "university teachers and scientific and 
medical workers in more than twenty major cities are sys- 
tematically studying Pavlov's theories on the activity of the 
higher nervous system. Since eighty prominent Chinese phys- 
iologists and other specialists in this field took a special 
course in Pavlov last year, its study has spread to Shanghai, 
Tsingtao, Lanchow, Mukden, Harbin, Canton and other 
cities. Laboratories on conditioned-reflex work have been set 
up in medical institutes and hospitals to develop Pavlovian 

Editorially, this semi-official publication declared: 

"Pavlov's theory on the activity of the higher nervous sys- 
tem has given a scientific basis for man's capacity to transform 
the world by his consciousness of the world. It destroys the 
idealistic theories which have dominated physiology for a 
long time. Pavlov's theories have become the foundation of 
the natural sciences." The paper also called on China's physi- 
ologists, psychologists and medical workers to put Pavlov's 
theories into practice. 

Clinical treatment is conceivable for a limited number of 
persons, but how does one treat a sick country? Professional 
organizations in the medical and psychiatric fields in the Free 

The Clinical Analysis 263 

World can have no more important task than to tackle this 

"The perversion of therapeutic techniques by political au- 
thorities of the totalitarian countries is a phenomenon of such 
tremendous importance that it requires exhaustive study in 
order to counteract and defeat it," Dr. Freedom emphasized. 

What was startlingly evident was that, under official stimu- 
lation and compulsion in the Red bloc of countries, such 
over-all study was already being given to the subject for a 
war against men's minds. If the same attention is not given 
to it in the free nations for purposes of defense and to keep 
intact the beneficial purposes of science, their people will be 
as vulnerable to its pressures as were those luckless and un- 
warned young men who were made prisoners of the com- 
munists in Korea. 



Mental-Survival Stamina 

Communism, by applying Pavlov's findings to old ways of 
influencing minds, appeared to many people who consider 
themselves coldly realistic as having hit upon a strategy that 
was unbeatable. The Reds discovered that science, like fire, 
could be used more easily for destruction than construction, 
and have chosen to use it that way. 

This gave rise to a defeatist state of mind which expressed 
itself in such questions as: "Every man has a breaking point, 
so there's nothing you can do about it, is there?" This atti- 
tude was frequently given a respectable cloak by being called 
"objectivity," "neutrality," and even an "independent point 
of view," but it was defeatism and part of the deliberate 
softening-up process under communism. 

The communists endlessly repeat their hopelessness-inevit- 
ability line by argument, implication and example. Whether 
in a Soviet prison or at an international conference, it is 
always present. Like a medieval poison, it can turn the moral 
bloodstream into water. 

The communists, with calculated modesty, attribute their 
victories to dialectical materialism, as proof of the hopeless- 
ness of opposing their will and the inevitability of their ulti- 
mate triumph. Their dialectical materialism boils down to 
sheer materialism that wears a mystic cloak and proclaims the 
gospel of constant change through unceasing struggle, with 
the eternal, inflexible truth of communism as the only meas- 
urement for verity and good. This political theology admits 
no conclusions except its own. That is what communism 


266 Brainwashing 

means by science. The moral appeared to be that the Reds 
got what they wanted sooner or later. They possessed the 
patience, ruthlessness, and one-track mind necessary for a 
successful delaying tactic. "Be wise to yourself and join a 
winner while you still have the chance," they kept saying, in 
language adjusted to every mental level and social stratum, 
to all who had not submitted. They never ceased reiterating 
this, like a magic formula. 

When the lengthy list of elements that went into brain- 
washing was put down on paper, one after the other, it repre- 
sented such a formidable array that it did look, superficially, 
as if the Reds had come upon a winning combination. The 
impression increased so long as one's mind could be kept 
focused on just those points. If it were really true that any 
response could be obtained by using any stimulus, from a 
soft caress to a shouted word, as the neo-Pavlovians taught, 
there simply appeared to be no stopping it. The problem that 
it presented was so new and sinister that it tended to paralyze 

My attention at first was concentrated only on what 
brought about the breakdown of the mind, because it was 
only this that was at first apparent. This was the fundamental 
control strategy on which communism based its entire aggres- 
sion and mind-remolding program. The immediate question 
was what it was and how it came about. Out of the experi- 
ences of those who underwent mind attack, the pattern for 
brainwashing slowly revealed itself. 

Indoctrination, persuasion, explanation, publicity and pub- 
lic relations, education, examination and re-examination, 
criticism and self-criticism — each of these only cover a 
single facet of brainwashing. Clergymen indoctrinate. Schools 
educate and re-educate. Successful persuasion normally indi- 
cates a better argument. To assume that any one of these 
words or labels was a synonym for brainwashing only con- 
cealed its sinister content and helped the Reds continue to 
wage their mind attack against an unprepared foe. 

What first struck me in the communist attitude was their 
great fear of the word, as if it might destroy them. Joseph Z. 

How It Can Be Beat 267 

Kornfeder, an American who graduated from the College of 
Political Subversive Warfare at Moscow and was one of the 
first to break away from communism, discussed it with me. 
He described mind attack as "the most sensitive nerve of 
international communism." He said the only Red defense 
would be to hush up the subject, because even to deny the 
idea would be to bring attention to it. Anyone who heard 
the details, even if he were skeptical, could not help but 
recognize brainwashing once it was attempted against him. 
"A sensitive nerve has to be left untouched; anything that 
rubs against it hurts," Kornfeder added. The damage would 
be so much the greater if the details about it could get to 
the people who live inside the communist countries. 

How correct he was gradually became evident as more and 
more victims of brainwashing began to tell what they had 
undergone. Without my noticing it for quite some time, a 
second pattern of brainwashing began to take shape out of 
these many interviews. Each person I spoke to, when he ex- 
plained what had been done to him, referred at the same time 
to his own struggle against it. I took notes on what each 
person said had helped him to resist. After a while I noticed 
a similarity. Indiscernible in the beginning, a technique of 
mind defense, of how a mind could be protected, began to 
take shape. 

This knowledge, disseminated and emphasized throughout 
the world, particularly in the satellite states, can pull the rug 
out from under brainwashing and wreck communism's most 
potent weapon. Those who suffered under brainwashing as 
well as former high communists and psychiatrists all agreed 
to that. Awareness of how it is perpetrated can bring about 
its ultimate defeat. Knowledge of it is mental vaccination. 

Colonel Schwable, who confessed to germ warfare, said: 
"I would have given my soul to have known those facts." He 
told me how he had spent several days, almost around the 
clock, writing a paper about military medals because the 
Reds had promised to let him leave his isolated Korean house 
and return to the regular p.o.w. enclosure as soon as he did it. 
"If I had known their whole idea was to wear me down, I 

268 Brainwashing 

would have made the job last months," he said. When he 
completed it, all fagged out, the Reds ignored their promise 
and began pressing him for the germ-warfare confession. 
"When they brought up bugs instead of military secrets with 
which I was loaded, I sighed inwardly with relief," he told 
me. "If I could keep them talking about bugs, I said to my- 
self, they wouldn't get to the war secrets I knew. No military 
secret ever slipped from me. But how did I know that it was 
bugs they were really interested in? I couldn't take bugs 
seriously, and couldn't imagine anyone else doing so. I 
thought I was putting something over on them." 

What was evident out of the experiences of the brain- 
washed was that two men could undergo similar pressures 
under the same set of circumstances and one would crack and 
the other not. But why was it that the man who seemed to 
possess most of the advantages was frequently the one to 
break? He could be better educated, huskier, even of a higher 
status in life. Yet he cracked. Another chap, who didn't ap- 
pear to have a ghost of a chance, retained both his honor 
and his life. 

What made one man capable of being an inspiration to 
his comrades and a frustration to the Reds, while another 
who should have held out equally or better succumbed to 
Red pressure and became a rat? 

Then I began asking, "How were you able to survive as 
well as you did, while others in a better condition broke 
down?" In brief, the question was, "To what do you attribute 
your survival?" The replies showed how a mind could defeat 
the most subtle pressures ever devised by a witch doctor or a 
corticovisceral psychiatrist. The details given to me built up 
to this new pattern of mental-survival stamina. 

No discovery could have been more thrilling. If brain- 
washing can take a fine mind and make a parody of it, the 
safeguarding of such an intellect is one of the basic problems 
of our age. Its solution is necessary to enable free society to 
win out over the police-state concept. Give it any label — cold, 
ideological, propaganda, or psychological war — it is nothing 
more or less than the ancient conflict between the influences 

How It Can Be Beat 269 

that dehumanize and collectivize people and those that de- 
velop individuality and free will. The new Red warfare is 
based on mind attack. Military terminology describes it per- 
fectly. Such terms as artillery attack, diversionary attack, air 
attack, and gas attack have become familiar. Mind attack is 
a natural extension of all these. 

Indeed, the attitudes of people have always been the real 
target of any attack. The result of every battle is decided by 
how men react mentally. The Reds subordinate all other 
weapons to this new strategy, abandoning all considerations 
of honor, decency, and religion, except when those, too, can 
be used specifically as weapons in mind attack. 

Hitherto, society has given its youth what is known as 
physical-survival training. Our young men are taught as boy 
scouts, in school and in the army, how to endure physical 
hardships. Our boys are taught to take care of themselves if 
lost in the woods or on a deserted island. They learn which 
berries are nourishing and which are poisonous, and how to 
protect themselves against beasts and savages. An aviator is 
taught how to stay alive if he crashes into the jungle or on 
an ice floe. 

Nowadays our men must learn something else as well. 
They must be given mental-survival training. They have to 
learn what to do if they are lost in an ideological jungle. 
They need to be trained to survive under this new man-made 
menace of mind attack. The camp crafts that young men 
previously learned must be expanded to cover these new 
emergencies. Never again shall it be said that a product of 
free society died of starvation because he could not stomach 
unaccustomed foods such as kaoliang — the sorghum of North 
China. Never again should our youth worry themselves sick 
over the double-talk of a trained propagandist because they 
are unable to distinguish between words and motives. In 
mind war, a man must be prepared for false friends and de- 
privations of all contact with his own kind. Never again shall 
a free man suffer the pangs of isolation while in the company 
of other human beings simply because their skins or their 
cultures differ radically from his own. 

270 Brainwashing 

Forever hence, he must know the traps that are set up for 
him by mind attack, traps that are devised with less com- 
passion than those built to capture a wild beast. He has to 
know that each kind of attack has its appropriate weapons. 
The tools of a successful artillery attack include guns, am- 
munition, soldiers, and observers. The tools of mind attack 
include food, fear, fatigue, and deception. He must be pre- 
pared for these. He must be trained in the defenses against 
the planned disintegration of his will. He must know how to 
handle the tools that can guard the well-being and integrity 
of his mind. 

Free society must teach each man and woman that this is 
everyone's business, for everyone is the target of total war. 
There is no front and no rear in mind attack. 

I was given a multitude of answers to my question of what 
constituted mental-survival stamina by persons of completely 
different natures and professions, from widely different cul- 
tural areas of the world. Their replies varied in detail but 
were alike on essential points. This similarity was the most 
significant point about them. 

The elements that gave a man moral strength were just as 
definable as those which gave him physical strength. Out of 
the experience of all these brainwashed persons came a prac- 
tical and a satisfying pattern for survival against mental pres- 
sures. Such survival knowledge can ultimately destroy com- 
munism, internally and externally. 

These elements can be named and listed. They are: 

Faith, convictions, clarity of mind, a closed mind, purpose, 
keeping one's mind busy, confidence, deceit, high jinks, 
adaptability, crusading spirit, group feelings, being yourself. 
Certain of these labels, standing by themselves, would give 
too broad or misleading an impression, such as a closed mind 
and deceit. Within the framework of maturity and dissem- 
blance these two are trimmed to fit within our democratic 
way of life and still remain practical. They are all bound up 
in integrity which gives them their direction and potency. 

Each requires detailed description. 

How It Can Be Beat 271 

Faith and Convictions 

Missionaries and other men and women attached to re- 
ligious organizations naturally leaned on their faith for sup- 
port while under mind attack. What was not generally ex- 
pected, however, was that hard-boiled laymen would do the 
same with equal fervor, reaping the same beneficial results. 
In this skeptical day and age, such a finding sounds unrealis- 
tic and meets derision and resistance. Yet for me to report 
otherwise would be to misrepresent what they had told me. 

The people I interviewed were mostly down-to-earth, prac- 
tical men who could not be swept off their feet by emotion- 
alism. The Shanghai lawyer and the Budapest engineer, the 
top sergeant from Korea and the automobile salesman from 
Detroit, were men of the world. Still, they declared that the 
most important elements in their survival were faith and 
prayer. So did the majority of those who went through Red 

They credited strong convictions, too, with playing a de- 
cisive role in their struggle for stamina. Those who did not 
emphasize prayer and faith laid great stress on convictions as 
an indispensable, strength-bestowing quality. 

The convictions that protected a man were contained in 
his way of life, expressed through a code of conduct in which 
he could put steadfast faith and to which he could give his 
fullest loyalty. Whatever shape convictions took, if they con- 
stituted a way of life and were scrupulously followed, they 
set up roadblocks to mind attack. The code did not have to 
be of any particular kind; it could be ethical, social, political, 
patriotic or religious. Religion frequently was expressed as 
a way of life rather than as a specific dogma. Patriotism, sim- 
ple faith in one's own country, was one of the basic convic- 
tions. So long as a code was rigidly adhered to, one set of 
convictions served as effectively as another. The weakness lay 
in their lack, not in their types. The secret was in knowing 
what one believed and why. 

Men who relied on form alone, such as the mere repetition 

272 Brainwashing 

of religious passages without thinking of their meaning, only 
helped defeat themselves by adding to the Red fatigue pres- 
sure. There was no substitute for real awareness when a man 
was completely on his own. He had to know what he was 

These three words — prayer, faith, and convictions — were 
closely linked in most minds and were often used inter- 
changeably. At least one of these was mentioned in every 
case when a man thought back over what had given him his 
main support. 

I asked Robert A. Vogeler one day what qualities had 
helped him most. His case was the first to bring home to the 
American people the fact that brainwashing was something 
more than an intriguing word concerning others, never them- 
selves. He had been held incommunicado for eleven months. 
He was grabbed by his leg when he attempted to hurl him- 
self to death down a steep alleyway inside the prison com- 
pound. Later he made the usual confessions to the usual fake 
accusations and was given the usual long sentence. He was 
released when the U. S. Government agreed to meet the black- 
mailing demands of Red Hungary. 

What pulled him through, Vogeler said, was firstly religion 
and secondly faith. "What's the difference?" I asked, for in 
this realm of attitudes the dictionary is only of limited help. 
Each person chooses his preferred connotation and gives it 
his own special emphasis. "I mean faith in what I had been 
brought up to believe in," he said tersely. "In the dignity of 
the individual, the rights of man, and the American way of 
life generally." 

His deep-set, narrow eyes and dark eyelashes gave him the 
look of a skipper or a pilot. "My father was a Protestant, my 
mother was a Catholic, and I became an Episcopalian as a 
compromise, I suppose," he mused. "I have never been much 
of a churchgoer. But while I was suffering in that communist 
prison, it was religion that was the main source of my 

"What do you mean by religion?" I asked. He had carefully 
thought this out in prison. What had kept his spirit up, he 

How It Can Be Beat 273 

said, was not the eye-for-an-eye approach. "That has been 
tried for ages and has never worked, but has always led to 
some new attempt at revenge," he explained. "The faith that 
held me up was the philosophy of the Crucifixion, of re- 

He tried, during his long days and nights of incarceration, 
to recall exactly what the New Testament said about this. He 
gave himself the task of bringing back to his mind the verses 
he had learned as a boy in Sunday school. He made a practice 
in prison of saying grace whenever he ate, no matter what 
sorry pretense of a meal was put before him. 

He keenly felt the lack of a Bible and kept asking for one. 
Six months after he began his prison term, when the com- 
munists were no longer worried about what might maintain 
his moral strength, they let him have a copy. He set himself a 
routine, picking certain pages to read morning, afternoon, 
and night. "I believed in that part of religion which teaches 
that every experience has a reason," he said. "I knew that my 
sufferings had to have a reason, too. Knowing this, I under- 
stood that I had to survive and would survive to give this 
reason meaning and fulfillment." 

As a consequence, Vogeler came out of the Red prisons no 
longer just a practical businessmen, but a man with a mis- 
sion. His experience under communism had broadened him 
into a crusader for freedom. I often came across this phe- 
nomenon in the men who had climbed down from the Cal- 
vary of brainwashing. They had acquired a new perspective 
and had been taught a new sense of values. 

Bob Bryan, the Shanghai lawyer, answered the same ques- 
tion with the words "prayer and faith." I wondered why he 
hadn't said it the other way around. Wasn't prayer founded 
on faith? But he was not discussing the theory of religion, 
only his personal experience. In a prison a man finds himself 
praying and he does not stop to think how this came about; 
he accepts it. 

I visualized the big prison where some of my old friends 
had suffered during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, 
where the communists were now engaging in atrocities of the 

274 Brainwashing 

mind. Once its doors had locked behind a person, he was 
strictly alone. 

"Do you mean to tell me," I asked Bryan, "that while you 
were being tortured, isolated from all who might help you, 
forced from one confession into another, drugged when you 
tried to balk them, you actually gained staying power by the 
mere act of prayer?" 

The forthrightness with which he replied defied challenge. 
"Prayer gave me the strength to keep my wits about me," he 
said. "Otherwise I never could have done it." 

"Exactly how did it help you?" I persisted, not because I 
doubted what he said, but because theory alone could not 
have helped him at such a critical time; it had to be some- 
thing specific. And so it was. He told me how prayer fulfilled 
a definite function, defeating the communist isolation tactic. 
"No matter how much the Reds insisted that I was wholly 
abandoned, out of reach of any aid, I was able to demolish 
their whole argument by prayer." The thickest prison walls 
could not hold back his prayer. "When I was most in need of 
support, prayer gave it to me. Prayer made me part of an 
invincible force." 

Additional clarity on the role of prayer in time of stress 
was provided by Dr. Hayes, who mentioned the comfort and 
staying power he derived from the prayers of others. As a 
minister of the Gospel he knew that many persons were in- 
cluding him in their own prayers. These, and his own, gave 
him the sense of belonging to what could not be vanquished. 
"The certainty that other people, many of them strangers to 
me, were thinking about me and praying for me, made me 
feel completely confident of the future," he said. 

The element of conviction, which was such a tremendous 
factor in preserving stamina, requires separate consideration. 
Without convictions, a man was soft clay in the hands of the 
Reds. I heard of no case where anyone without convictions 
was able to resist brainwashing in an effective manner once 
the communists began to apply the heat. Extra proof came 
from an entirely different direction, from those who had 
capitulated miserably. They had invariably been lacking in 

How It Can Be Beat 275 

strong convictions. Whether they were well educated, well 
proportioned, wealthy, or of high position, the result was 
the same as with anyone else who lacked convictions. 

Claude Batchelor was a tragic example of this lack. His 
lawyer asked me for a deposition, which I wrote after pro- 
longed sessions with his client in the modern prison at old 
Fort Sam Houston. I summarized my conclusions in two para- 
graphs. Indeed, only one phrase was needed to tell the whole 
dismal story: "A lack of settled convictions and with no depth 
of feeling given to him by home, church, or school." 

Not once in the many hours I spent with him did Batchelor 
allude to positive convictions. The words "I believe . . ." 
seemed no part of him. He was a handsome, tall lad with 
clean-cut features and a patient manner. What had he been 
taught at home, church, and school? 

Personal convictions are interpreted in as many different 
ways around the world as there are customs and traditions. 
Each civilization produces its own, although the objectives 
are the same. When such differences in approach are not un- 
derstood, we mistake strength for weakness and weakness for 
strength. The most revealing example of this was given to 
me by a Chinese woman named Mary Liu. 

She had been in an unrivaled position to know what was 
happening behind the scenes. She sat in at meetings from 
which all foreigners, even sympathizers, were excluded, when 
so-called spontaneous accusations and demonstrations were 
being rehearsed as if for a theatrical performance. She was in 
a position to relate the whole inside story and to show what 
provided mental-survival stamina inside this bizarre environ- 
ment. She revealed the existence of convictions where least 
expected, in a form that inevitably escaped the attention of 
the West. She exposed what could be a fatal weakness where 
the Reds seemed safely in control, as in China. Hers was the 
most dramatic and encouraging life story I had ever come 
across in more than a quarter of a century of interviews. 
Only a few words of it can be related here. 

Mary's credentials could not have been more convincing. 
She carried them in her physical disabilities and in her con- 

276 Brainwashing 

quest of them. Her background must first be understood. 

Somehow, when hardly more than a baby in Nanking, she 
had been left out at night in freezing weather and when 
brought back into the house was already suffering from se- 
vere frostbite. In the China of that period, on the eve of the 
establishment of the Sun Yat-sen republic, girl babies were 
frequently abandoned to die outside city walls. Not much 
care was given to them under the best of circumstances. If 
they lived, well and good; if they died, it was welcomed as 
the will of heaven. Fortunately, Mary was finally sent to a 
mission hospital. One hand and the fingers of the other, as 
well as both lower legs, had to be amputated to halt the 
spreading gangrene. The American surgeon carefully saved 
the stub of one thumb, a foresight which helped her grow 
up a normal child, able to wield pen or brush, chopsticks or 
knife and fork. She was naturally graceful, but this grace was 
predominantly of the spirit, which was the unbeatable in her. 

The missionaries took her in and brought her up, educat- 
ing her in their schools. She graduated from Ginling College 
and became the editor of a woman's magazine published in 
Shanghai by the Protestant denominations. 

Equipped with artificial lower limbs, she refused to accept 
any other aid. Buttressed by faith and convictions, she looked 
on life as a grand opportunity for service. This approach to 
life focused her mind outside herself on all the wonderful 
things she could do for others, and was her greatest stabilizer. 
Glancing through her Bible one day as a child, she found a 
verse that has served her ever since as the foundation for her 
mental stamina. The words were Paul's: "And he said unto 
me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made 
perfect in weakness." A thrill coursed through Mary as she 
read this, for it seemed to have been said with her in mind. 
Her life confirmed this passage in its deepest sense. 

She was visiting Hong Kong, outside of China, when the 
communists took over Shanghai. She promptly returned 
there, confident that of all people on earth, she had the least 
to fear from the Reds. If they were the slightest bit sincere 

How It Can Be Beat 277 

in their sympathy for the handicapped masses, she was their 
best symbol of victory over impossible odds. 

But the unimaginative brainwashing machine saw in her 
only a symbolic example of the isolated, unconditioned man 
they feared so much. They could not spare her and survive 
themselves. They set to work to remold her mind and rid 
it of its Promethean individuality. 

As their pressures increased, Mary contemplated escape by 
suicide and slept with deadly pills by her pillow. The Reds 
prevented even this by making her lifelong associates re- 
sponsible for her. Their lives were now in her hands. 

She was a token of the unconquerability of the individual, 
no matter what the obstacles, even when deprived of hands 
and feet. The Communist Party saw this power in her and 
was afraid. She was maneuvered into a corner where she had 
to accuse the people who had saved her and who had made 
it possible for her to live her wonderfully useful life. She had 
to declare that black was white, good was evil, and that the 
Americans who had helped her were selfish in doing so. She 
had to say, in effect, that they had only sought to use her as 
a tool for cultural aggression. 

Mary had been unable to believe that such a travesty could 
be seriously insisted up>on for her, too. She had to go through 
with the farce, but in doing so, she developed a counter- 
strategy. She did only what she was absolutely unable to avoid 
doing, accusing only those outside of communist reach, who 
had already died or were abroad. She laid careful plans to 
escape abroad, so as to make her experiences known to the 
religious organizations of other lands, particularly in places 
such as India, to warn them in time against allowing them- 
selves to become pawns of Red policy, as she had seen hap- 
pen in her own country. 

By going through with an act, the Chinese is able to fool 
his indoctrinators and in this way to "gain face" and needed 
time, which the Chinese have always recognized as a form of 
power. The maintenance of status is a distinct "gain of face." 
Part of the communist strategy is to humiliate the Chinese so 

278 Brainwashing 

that he "loses face." This face, which we call prestige, and 
"face-saving," are power elements. 

The communist regime knows that vast numbers of people 
are waiting for the moment when open opposition will be 
practicable and have a reasonable prospect of success. This 
is why there is no semblance of trust between the Reds them- 
selves and why every communist country has to be kept under 
unceasing purges. 

Mary was not arrested, but neither was she a free woman. 
She was not able to resign from her job or move her home. 
She could not do anything normally associated with freedom, 
except continue going each day between her editorial office 
and flat. Even this was a travesty, for she was deprived of any 
work to do. All that was left on which to spend time was the 
ritual of self-criticism, mutual confession, expiation, and 
purge. She walked an ideological tightrope, exerting all her 
energies to maintain her balance. 

At one grueling self-accusation meeting, while the Reds 
were insisting that she denounce those whose selflessness and 
affection had aided her, a new conviction, that was part of 
her blood heritage, came over her, filling her with composure 
and assurance. 

"I felt certain, at that moment, that I would outlast Mao 
Tse-tung," she told me. 

Her reaction was typical, as I learned from many other 
Chinese. Many throughout the nation, who also were under- 
going varying intensities of mind attack, were strengthened 
by the same startling conviction. They absorbed vital staying 
power from it. 

"Did you actually mean that you were sure that you, Mary 
Liu, would outlive Mao Tse-tung?" I asked. "Weren't you 
thinking figuratively?" 

"Whether I was thinking figuratively, I leave to you," she 
replied, "but when that thought came to me, it was in the 
form I've related to you. I knew that I would outlast Mao 
Tse-tung. That is exactly the feeling that came over me. Let 
others interpret it; I can only say how it felt." 

She agreed that she thought of Mao not so much as an 

How It Can Be Beat 279 

individual, but as the symbol of communism. She now knew, 
too, that while she represented in her own being what was 
essentially Chinese, Mao represented an unnatural and 
tyrannous ideology. He would topple, as had all those others 
who had gone counter to the race culture of China. She lost 
her fear of the indoctrinators who stood over her. Her only 
problem was to play for time. 

This was conviction and it also was faith. The ordinary 
people of China express it in the simple formula: "An unjust 
ruler loses the mandate of heaven." 

Mary recognized that this was a struggle for ultimate sur- 
vival. "Stamina to a Chinese is essentially a long-range 
strategy," she explained. Certainty as to where the greater 
staying power lay, provided by religion and convictions, gave 
her the support that enabled her to endure her many tor- 
tured hours and eventually to make a thrilling escape into the 
Free World. 

Although the conviction that Mary explained may sound 
very Asian, its roots are in human nature common to all races. 
Only its dress was Asian. 

Clarity of Mind 

Clarity of mind is a vital element in mental survival. A 
clear mind cannot be brainwashed. Every case I investigated 
only confirmed this the more, whether of someone who stood 
up nobly or who crumbled pathetically. They proved that 
before a mind could be brainwashed, it first had to be put 
into a mental fog. 

These cases showed that the first requirement of a clear 
mind was rational thinking. One of the most important les- 
sons to come out of brainwashing was the simple, Aristotelian 
principle that A is always A, and that when it is B, it is no 
longer A. Once the communists could convince a man that 
A is also B, if only for a second, they had succeeded in driving 
a wedge into his clear thinking which inevitably split it right 
down the center. Intriguing discussion over what is reality 

28o Brainwashing 

and what is illusion was all right in a classroom or a parlor 
back home, but not with a brainwasher who was playing for 
keeps. In the brainwasher's chamber there was no room for 

When under mind attack, an individual could not loosen 
his grip for an instant on what he knew and believed. Other- 
wise, the resultant indecision and hesitation gave the indoc- 
trinators exactly the openings they were seeking. 

Clarity of thought cannot exist in a vacuum. The mind 
must have facts to go on. Some of the easiest and most dis- 
concerting Red conquests have been of very intelligent young 
men with little or no education, certainly without any in- 
struction in the wiles of communism. The intelligent but 
uninformed individual, particularly if a high IQ gave him a 
natural capacity for information, was easily confused by half- 
truths and by being cut off from access to the facts that alone 
could clarify the situation. His mind was like an empty pail; 
all the Reds had to do was fill it. From confusion to a false 
conviction was but one step. 

Another push-over for the indoctrinators was the inde- 
cisive mind, especially the falsely academic kind that always 
sees some valid point in the other side's argument. One of the 
main reasons for the intensive preliminary questioning by the 
Reds was to locate just such individuals. They saved the com- 
munist brainwashers a great deal of time and work. 

The indoctrinator's purpose in using torture and terror 
was to make a man groggy, so he couldn't think straight, or 
to force him by sheer pain and fear to do as the Reds wished. 
But unless a man's clear thinking was destroyed at the same 
time, the communists were unable to rely on him. His signed 
statements could be publicized and his confessions employed 
to incriminate others, but he himself could not be trusted 
beyond these immediate objectives. 

His submission could be a ruse. Once the pain and the 
fear had passed, he was likely to be overwhelmed by resent- 
ment, and when the opportunity arrived, become an uncom- 
promising enemy. He had to be kept in prison or inside the 
controlled environment of a Soviet country. Slave-labor 

How It Can Be Beat 281 

camps are considered by the Reds as the only profitable spot 
in which to keep such people. 

The Reds know, too, that they cannot trust a person who 
submits at once. The p.o.w.'s in Korea who gave in easily 
were often more badly treated than those who resisted the 
most, and they frequently lost their lives in the bargain. In- 
stead of reaping the gratitude they expected for their be- 
trayals, the Reds considered them dangerously unreliable. 
After squeezing all they could out of such weaklings, the com- 
munists tossed them aside to die. 

Clear thinking can cure as well as prevent mind deteriora- 
tion. The brainwasher is perpetually plagued by doubts as 
to whether a man is really convinced or has only bowed to 
force. "You are not being sincere, comrade," he constantly 
repeats. How can he be sure that clear thinking has really 
been "cleansed" from his victim's mind? The study course 
devised by the Reds to deal with this dilemma is like animal 
training rather than schooling. So long as the student is able 
to keep his mind clear, he retains his freedom of choice. The 
entire procedure by the Reds is to root out all trace of choice. 

Brainwashing is not only used against foreigners and se- 
lected nationals, but is imposed on whole populations in the 
Soviet bloc, everywhere from Russia to Vietminh. Obviously, 
it has to be modified immensely for such widespread applica- 
tion. The Reds do not have anywhere near the trained per- 
sonnel for such a program. The overwhelming majority of 
the communists themselves have only gone through a soften- 
ing-up process. Inside the power framework of communism, 
this is all that is required as long as people have no alternative 
but to do as the Politbureau wants. If they talk and act as 
if they were truly indoctrinated, they are just as useful to 
the Reds. 

Those two tiny words, "as if," are power elements. When 
a person can be made to perform as if by his own free will, 
even if he hates it, the result is the same. A great proportion 
of these individuals, as time goes on without hope being 
restored, try to justify their surrender by finding excuses for 
it, convincing themselves that they are not living a lie and 

282 Brainwashing 

that the Communist Party has as much right to chastise them 
as a parent has to punish a wayward child. 

The Red hierarchy is obliged to select its underlings mostly 
from among such people. They are the "active Party mem- 
bers" and even the indoctrinators. I met some of them among 
the Chinese Red Army troops who had gone over to the 
side of the Free World. A surprisingly large number had been 
Communist Party members. They told me how they had 
joined the communists as young men, accepting Red claims 
and promises at face value. The cynicism and cruelty they 
had to indulge in as they advanced in Party trust conflicted 
with the idealism that had brought them into communism. 
They became confused and a creeping disillusionment spread 
through them. 

Their helplessness to do anything about it rankled within 
them. They crushed these dangerous thoughts down into 
their subconscious, which turned them into conscienceless 
automatons and neurotics. They became grim and unhappy 
Party workers. 

Every Red country is full of such people. While trapped 
within the Red apparatus, their guilt feelings are projected 
against the anti-communists who fall into their grasp. They 
become the crudest indoctrinators and the blindest theore- 
ticians, full of suppressed bitterness and hates. Their only 
outlets are the scapegoats who fall into their hands. 

Chao Chin-yun is a case in point. He was still in his early 
twenties when I met him in Formosa, after he had won his 
desperate fight in Korea not to go back to Red China. His 
determination never to return was tattooed into the flesh of 
his arms and chest. He told me how he had been a petty 
political officer under the communists. They had recruited 
him simply by picking him up as they passed through his 
village. He believed what they told him and rose steadily in 
their trust. He was immensely proud when he was given the 
responsibility of conducting people's trials in Szechwan 
Province. Each day, he received instructions from a Red su- 
perior who pulled the strings from behind the scenes. He 
cited the case of a youth named Tan whom the Reds felt 

How It Can Be Beat 283 

could be very useful, but who, with peasant intuition, re- 
jected all overtures. The Party heads bided their time. When 
a hand grenade was thrown into a barracks one day, causing 
a little damage and no casualties, they seized upon the inci- 
dent, planting a rumor that Tan had been seen passing there 
just previously. 

A mass meeting was called at which this was brought up. 
Tan was accused, transforming the meeting into a "people's 
court." Chao got a thrill out of manipulating it so that Tan 
was found guilty and the people began shouting, "Kill him! 
Kill him!" Chao thereupon adjourned the meeting until next 

That night he visited the terrified prisoner who pleaded 
his innocence and begged Chao to help him. Chao told him 
that the only way out was for him to confess and throw him- 
self "on the people's mercy." If he did this, and agreed to 
obey the communists in all things from then on, Chao said he 
would ask "the people" to save him. Tan readily agreed. The 
next day, Chao urged the crowd to accept Tan's plea for 
mercy, and to hand him over to the Party to deal with as it 
saw fit. Everything went according to plan, and as a result 
of this harrowing experience. Tan was filled with gratitude to 
the Party for saving his life. He became an enthusiastic fol- 
lower, not suspecting that it had been stage-managed from 
the start. 

Chao told me that the success of this maneuver filled him 
with pride and excitement at the time. He was kept too busy 
to think about its real significance. Only later, in the few 
minutes he lay awake on his cot before falling asleep after a 
long day's work, did he ponder such incidents. He forced 
himself to stop thinking about them, but had already become 
confused and disillusioned. When pressure from the outside, 
in the form of the Korean War, broke through the controlled 
environment in which he had been living, all these hidden 
thoughts surged up out of his subconscious and he seized his 
opportunity to escape. He became overnight a conscious foe 
of the communism he had been deceived into supporting. 

A virtual shock treatment is needed to bring about such 

284 Brainwashing 

an abrupt change. In the case of these Chinese p.o.w.'s whom 
I interviewed, release from their mental bondage came with 
a break in the controlled environment. This was the essential 

The same was always true, whether it was a Chao Chin-yun 
or a Claude Batchelor. Chinese brainwashers, stationed in 
the Red hospital and at other points around Panmunjom, re- 
tained control over Batchelor's little coterie of men who said 
they did not want to go home. They were set to spying on 
each other in a collectivity of fear and distrust disguised as 
unity, to dancing the yangko and beating drums, interpreted 
to the outside world as enthusiasm, and to smoking hasheesh. 

The prisoners were induced to edit and read each other's 
mail and were persuaded to announce that they did not want 
any more letters from home. They took the bundles of mail 
handed over to them and put them unopened under a cot to 
be distributed after the end of the negotiations, when the 
words of their loved ones would be too late to have effect. 
They were never alone, never outside the collectivity. Any 
slight jar would have put an end to the trance-inducing pitch 
of hysteria on which the Reds depended. 

Batchelor told me that one night he noticed a few pages 
from Reader's Digest poking through the edges of a stack of 
mail under the cot. He managed to slip them out without the 
others seeing, and found an article by Whittaker Chambers 
on communism. What he read conflicted so drastically with 
every word he had been hearing for several years that its 
effect was like a hammer blow. The multitude of concealed 
doubts and worries that had been torturing him settled into 
one clear thought. He had to get away. He consciously set his 
mind on escape, and before dawn managed to slip out. The 
Pavlovian animal, when its conditioned environment is in- 
terfered with, tends to forget what it has been taught! 

The Red hierarchy cannot help but suspect this, and so 
cannot trust its own adherents. This prospect of an explosive 
collapse from within drives the Politbureaus to madder and 
madder lengths in their internal controls. The terror they 
impose outside their ranks reflects the terror they feel within. 

How It Can Be Beat 285 

If mutual accusations and purges ceased for even a brief 
period in any communist country, this internal crack-up 
would begin at once. 

Confusion, the first requirement in brainwashing, is also 
the initial step in communist disintegration. But the clarity 
of mind that can best safeguard a free man is the greatest 
threat of all to the communist plan. 

Using One's Head 

A remarkable proportion of the outstanding cases of men- 
tal survival was of men with a closed mind on communism. 
They shut their ears and closed their eyes to what the Reds 
were saying. They based their attitude on two simple 
premises. They knew that the Reds were telling them lies, 
and they knew, too, that when the Reds did tell them some- 
thing truthful, it was for the purpose of harming them. 

These men realized that the Reds fought dirty, using sub- 
terfuge to fool a victim. They were out to tire him out. By 
refusing to take anything they said seriously, a man defeated 
their fatigue tactic. He used plain common sense when he 
told himself, "I won't even listen. I don't care what they say, 
I just don't believe them." 

The men who closed their minds found that they had hit 
upon one of the principal defenses against mind attack. Other 
men lured by the siren cry of objectivity walked into the Red 
trap with open eyes. By the time they caught on, it was too 
late. They were physical wrecks, abject collaborators, or 
both. What should have been obvious to them was that con- 
duct which is normal under ordinary circumstances was 
tragically out of place in a prison environment. 

Perhaps the strongest confirmation of the importance of 
the closed mind came from a man who broke speedily, pro- 
viding the false evidence on which his associates were framed. 
Near the close of a long discussion with him, I mentioned the 
closed-mind factor. "Other men whom I interviewed con- 

286 Brainwashing 

sidered communism bad and refused even to discuss it," I 
said. "They had a closed mind on it." 

In a subdued voice that betrayed his shock, he replied, 
''But that is the most horrible thing I've ever heard in my 
life. A civilized man doesn't close his mind to anything." 

He could not have better phrased the confusion that led to 
the undoing of himself and so many others. He had mistaken 
a brainwashing chamber for a college classroom and a brain- 
washing session for a collegiate debate. His liberal upbring- 
ing had blinded him to the fact that an open mind is useless 
and even dangerous when it is calculatingly cut off from the 
information it needs. What this man was defending, although 
he did not realize it, was not an open but a perpetually in- 
decisive mind. 

"Doesn't a man ever come to a decision on anything?" I 
asked him. "What else is maturity if it is not the time when 
a man has reached basic conclusions on right and wrong 

"How can a person maintain liberal principles if he closed 
his mind on anything?" he persisted. 

I thought of those who had survived brainwashing and 
who told me what a great help a closed mind on communism 
had been to them. They were not intolerant or illiberal men. 
They had merely decided upon a counter-tactic to the 
enemy's, recognizing that this was an all-out fight in which 
they were engaged. 

A young lady passed our table. "You surely don't really 
mean that a mature man discusses everything objectively," I 
said. "Do two men, such as you and I, discuss seriously 
whether it might be all right to violate that young girl? Of 
course not. We don't even talk about it. We have closed 
minds on the subject. Or do you still insist on keeping an 
open mind on everything?" 

"Of course not in such an obvious case," he replied. 

"What could be more obvious," I asked, "than a political 
system that makes a bestial attack on the minds of small chil- 
dren, teaching them to screech, 'Kill him, kill him!' at the 
trial of their own father or mother? Such scenes are put on 

How It Can Be Beat 287 

the radio in Red China and piped into the classrooms to train 
other youngsters to do likewise. Do you have to discuss 
whether that is good or bad? Doesn't a mature man close his 
mind to anything that permits such fundamental violation of 
basic human qualities?" 

I doubt if I'll ever forget the strange look that went over 
his face. "I just never thought of that," he answered. I don't 
know what effect this conversation had on him, but it helped 
confirm what I had learned about the importance of a closed 
mind in preserving mental integrity. 

A closed mind, of course, is a radical preventative. Fa- 
naticism can easily be confused with it, and this is not what 
it means. A fanatic not only closes a door in his mind, he 
cements it shut so it can never be opened again, and shuts 
every other nearby door the same way, irrespective of where 
it leads. An intelligent person closes the door when he reaches 
a conclusion, moving on to other problems, but keeping the 
key safely in his pocket so he can open it again if he wishes. 
If he does, it is by his own free will and judgment and not at 
a brainwasher's insistence. 

The mature thinker's approach to communism is that it is 
evil, not partly evil but all evil. That is surely the only possi- 
ble stand to take when under the unfair and deceitful pres- 
sures of brainwashing, when the dice are loaded against a 
man. I heard one woman explaining it to another this way, 
"You know, you're not a little bit pregnant; you're either all 
pregnant or not at all," and it was as simple as that. To make 
another comparison, consider a glass of purified water. Let 
the tiniest drop of poison fall into the glass and the water 
isn't a little poisonous, it is all poison. The amateur sophisti- 
cate is led astray by the argument that a chemist could con- 
ceivably remove the poison and then the water would be 
fresh again. That is exactly the sort of argument the victims 
of brainwashing have to guard against, as Dr. Hayes dis- 
covered. Theoretically the poison could be removed from 
the water, but as a practical matter of fact it would be too 
complicated and expensive a job and even then not certain. 
The clear thinker does not permit himself to be led up the 

288 Brainwashing 

garden path by this phony "new liberalism" any more than 
by the "new democracy" o£ the Reds. He recognizes both as 
illiberal and undemocratic, and the entire communist ideol- 
ogy as poison. 

The experiences of the brainwashed showed, too, that the 
ability to keep one's mind busy is an ever-present element 
in the maintenance of mental stamina. The communists en- 
gage in a perpetual duel for the contents of a man's brain. 
They try to empty it of every thought that is not polarized 
around communism and its pressures. They seek to weary and 
worry it by filling it wholly with the fears and the reactions 
they give it. Their purpose is to drive a mind to distraction. 
They start off with the emotions that break a man, such as 
fear, boredom and desperation. They put their victim in 
agony by arousing an exaggerated sense of personal responsi- 
bility and guilt. 

The only way this obsessive pressure can be beaten is by 
relieving the mind, giving it other thoughts. Anything that 
relaxes the strain does the trick. An American woman, Mrs. 
Frances Hamlin, did it most ingeniously in Tsinan, North 
China. The communists put her into a small room, separate 
from her husband, also a missionary and also under detention. 
They refused to let her have anything with which to occupy 
her mind. They knew she had an alert brain and expected 
the enforced idleness and emptiness to be an unendurable tor- 
ture, enough to break her. They told her she would have to 
decide "voluntarily." Then they took away her books, pencils 
and paper, leaving her with only a few personal possessions 
and the blank walls. They waited with patience that was a 
mockery. She defeated them by braiding a belt entirely of 
human hair, her own. She took the hairs as they came from 
her own head in daily combings over a period of six months. 
She kept herself preoccupied with this self-imposed task. 

She was one among many who, thrown entirely on their 
own resources, evolved novel ways of keeping their minds 
preoccupied with anything except their communist environ- 
ment. General Dean swatted flies and kept score, making a 
game of it. Major MacGhee made a study of insect aeronau- 

How It Can Be Beat 289 

tics. The Reverend Olin Stockwell, one of the earliest victims 
of brainwashing in China, whose Calvary started in 1950, 
wrote a couple of hundred poems and memorized enough of 
them to publish when he returned to freedom, under the 
title Meditations from a Prison Cell. Indeed, he has enough 
left over to fill several more such booklets! 

Stockwell was in solitary confinement for fourteen months 
and then was hurled into an intensive course of brainwash- 
ing that lasted nine and a half more months. The Reds were 
confident that fourteen months of isolation for a man who 
had been accustomed to group work all his life and had prob- 
ably never spent a whole day by himself before would make 
a mush of his whole mental apparatus and put him in perfect 
shape for "re-education" and rebirth the Red way. 

They were particularly confident, too, because they knew 
Stockwell had lost patience with the old regime and had re- 
ceived their new government with a completely open mind. 
Stockwell had two strikes against him already, according to 
what all their experience had proved. Yet in all that siege 
against him, they were unable to win his mind! Stockwell was 
an example of a liberal who did a lot of rethinking of his 
own while in prison and who came forth with several weapons 
that saved him. He kept his mind busy — ^very, very busy; he 
closed his mind to certain basic Red approaches, and he did 
not hesitate to tell any tall story if it would put the enemy 
off its guard and release his own tension. He fought back in 
the spirit of the chaplain who exclaimed, "Praise the Lord 
and pass the ammunition." He did not split intellectual hairs 
about it; he just defended himself under the instinctive 
assumption of his early days in the Mid- West that if they 
were fighting him, they "didn't mean him no good" and he 
wouldn't go along with them nohow. He expressed it more 
grammatically than the colored boys of the Golden Cross 
Club Against Communism, but the meaning was the same. 
He had the same capacity, when the chips were down, to put 
his footing onto fundamentals. 

During his enforced idleness, he had been anything but 
idle. He wrote about sixty-five limericks, then graduated into 

ago Brainwashing 

poetry, composing 128 poems, each fifteen to twenty lines 
long. The Reds carefully took away everything he wrote 
almost immediately afterwards, so he was in a continual race 
against time to memorize a limerick or a poem before his 
guard would seize it. This gave him a day or two at most. 
Then, as a memory aid, he thought up a catchy title for each 
limerick and poem and memorized those, too, and finally 
arranged an index for all of them, preserving it in his head 
because the Reds wouldn't let him take any written material 
away with him. 

The people who must really have thought he had lost his 
head were his friends at Hong Kong when he finally was re- 
leased. As soon as he reached a room where he could rest, he 
got out paper and started writing limericks and poems out 
of his head in an unending stream. Nobody had ever seen 
anything like that before, ever! He was determined to get 
them down on paper before they slipped out of his mind in 
his new, normal environment. 

He gave himself such a busy schedule under isolation and 
later on under brainwashing that he had no time left to worry 
about the Reds! As he had decided not to take what they said 
"seriously but to dissemble acquiescence, it was all an act to 
him, make-believe, and his mind was simply closed to any 
semantics the Reds could use to change his attitudes. 

"That saved my life," he told me. The troubles that usually 
wear a man down, such as dysentery, came and went without 
shaking him because he had built up so many resistances. 
First of all, he was too busy thinking up clever limericks. He 
brought his sense of humor into play here. He was able to see 
how grossly ridiculous his whole situation was and get a laugh 
instead of a tear out of it. That was as stimulating to him as 
a drug, without the harmful effects. Tears would have been 
just what the brainwashing doctor prescribed! The ability to 
squeeze amusement out of his plight took a lot of the sting 
from it. 

"That was the most creative period of my life," Stockwell 
told me, and there was no doubting he meant it. Between the 
limericks and the poems he wrote a hundred devotional talks 

How It Can Be Beat 291 

and made up several crossword puzzles, too. He was think- 
ing, all right, as the Reds insisted, only he tricked them by 
not thinking about what they wanted! 

He not only kept his mind busy but strengthened his con- 
victions that way, for his poems were usually on religious 
themes. The limericks were on any subject that came to mind. 
No matter how rough or distasteful an experience, he could 
always trust to a limerick to put it into place. They thought 
that an alert brain such as his would become so depressed 
under isolation that it would seek a way out in suicide and 
took away whatever might serve as instruments for it. That 
inspired this: 

"The guards took razor blades and knife 
To keep me from taking my life. 
They need not fear an end so drear 
For I am still in love with my wife!" 

He had always kept clean, and sudden deprivation of facili- 
ties for cleanliness would be sure to put him into the dol- 
drums, the Reds thought. Instead, he wrote: 

"If you would be prison-wise 

You must learn to economize. 

One basin of water surely had oughta 

Wash floor, shirt and face contrariwise." 


"Three months without bathing you stink 
And clothes once white are now pink. 
But don't bother your head, the jail it is red, 
So sure they'd turn pink, don't you think." 

How was dialectical materialism going to beat that? It just 
didn't have a chance except by a treatment that would have 
been brain-changing and sheer atrocity, which would have 
required much more costly and specialized attention and 
would have ended up by making him utterly useless to then^ 

292 Brainwashing 

"Were you really able to memorize all that?" I asked him, 
a bit skeptically, I must admit. 

"How could I ever forget them?" he exclaimed, and for the 
next twenty minutes recited a half-mile of them at me! 

Stockwell learned a whole philosophy of survival during 
his isolation. Besides his other defenses, he fell back most 
strongly of all on his convictions, his faith. Whatever con- 
fusion there might have been in politics, which wasn't his 
field, he made up for it in his faith. The greatest strain, he 
discovered, was uncertainty, not knowing from hour to hour 
what would be next, although for hundreds and hundreds of 
hours nothing came next; but it might have and sometimes 
did, and this could become maddening, and was for many 
people, especially those unused to solitude. He overcame this 
by faith that there just had to be a purpose where there was 
so much suffering. Whether his penance vile would endure a 
day, a year, or a decade, he was willing to take it because he 
was thoroughly convinced "something worth while would 
come out of it in the end." He kept his vision focused on that 
end. The hopelessness-inevitability line came up against a 
stone wall in him. 

"I learned in prison," he told me, "that we must accept 
tragedy and turn it into something worth while and make it 
meaningful, and that tragedy seems made just for that pur- 
pose. You can always do it. The only suffering that is impossi- 
ble to bear is that which is not meaningful, that seems with- 
out a purpose." 

He changed what seemed deadly to what actually was vital 
and creative by a healthy attitude! He had never written 
poetry before, except a few lines at school. He had never had 
the time and the stimulation to delve as deeply into his 
philosophy as in prison. Out of his isolation, Stockwell made 
an opportunity to seek out the factors that really made life 

Stockwell's experience, too, demonstrated how extremely 
important it is for a man in captivity or caught in a corner to 
feel sure that he has friends outside remembering him and 
on his side, doing what they can for him and praying for him. 

How It Can Be Beat 293 

Stockwell stressed the contribution that prayer made in his 
case. The Reds seemed to realize this and would go into tan- 
trums of frustration over it. "You can't pray here," the guards 
would shout at him and at a hard-boiled little Chinese gen- 
eral named Shan Chuang-yi, who had been in prison already 
two years and who continued reading his Buddhist scriptures 
with the utmost composure. 

The two were alone together once for a few brief minutes 
and Stockwell was struck by how sturdily the old general was 
holding up. "Without some kind of a religious faith, nothing 
holds life together," the soldier said to the missionary. 

The brainwashers learned that Stockwell's wife was at 
Hong Kong and taunted him, saying, "All her prayers won't 
get you out." Stockwell didn't argue the point; he was satis- 
fied that the prayers of his wife and friends were enabling 
him to sustain himself during his imprisonment, and that was 
an accomplishment in itself. 

Stockwell learned another lesson. He told me that merely 
to accept suffering was not sufficient to maintain stamina. 
"You have to learn how to use suffering," he said. Others who 
had been brainwashed expressed it to me in different ways. 
Some called it a "sense of mission" or just having a purpose. 
What it crystallized into was taking the offensive and not 
being satisfied to rely just on the defensive. 

That was a curious thing for a missionary who was very 
liberal in his political thought to have learned in prison, the 
hard way. Actually, like so many Americans, he had never 
been a softie; he was just trying to be fair, but when the chips 
were down, he wouldn't budge from what he knew. He knew 
that there was something mad and evil about what he was 
facing and that if he made believe it wasn't so, he'd be licked. 
So he humored the Reds as one does any insane person. "I 
lied like a trooper," Stockwell said frankly. 

A description of the clever and simple devices that people 
thought up to relieve their minds under brainwashing would 
constitute one of the most heroic chapters ever written in the 
history of man's slow but sure advance toward civilization. 
The person who did not find a way to keep his mind busy 

294 Brainwashing 

underwent a self-torture that was at least as corrosive as any- 
thing the Reds could do to him directly. 

Another indispensable element in mental survival was con- 
fidence. A prisoner who possessed it was able to accomplish 
the seemingly impossible by mobilizing every bit of his phy- 
sical and mental qualities, concentrating them upon a single 
objective, with results that seemed miraculous. Every human 
being has untapped resources of mental and physical powers. 
Confidence can summon them into action at a moment's 
notice. With them, a person can accomplish what he never 
suspected he could do. 

Confidence can stave off defeatism. The man who doesn't 
know when he's licked frequently turns defeat into a glorious 
victory. History is full of instances. The Reds have made a 
subtle art of this by a stalling, dragging-out process accom- 
panied by attrition and a constant return to the fight from 
some new, unexpected direction, under a different name or 
disguise. The more hopeless a situation appears, the more re- 
sounding is the eventual victory. Confidence can make such 
a victory possible and at the same time keep a man's mind 
alert against tricky Red attacks. Overconfidence is simply 

Confidence has a touch of mysticism in it, made practical. 
Sometimes it comes very close to fatalism. Japan-born Arthur 
J. Breen, whose grandfather was one of the founders of 
Doshisha University, was in Peking when the Reds came in. 
They put him in prison for two years, much of it in solitary. 
He said he noticed Chinese holding out under conditions 
which would have cracked almost anyone else. "What kept 
them going was the fatalistic streak in them," he said. 'Tatal- 
ism, the way they felt it, was a form of hope, a kind of confi- 
dence. When you're fatalistic that way, you don't worry any 
more. You're able to keep your mind off your miseries. That's 
the biggest part of the fight." 

He compared fatalism to hope "shrouded in dark clouds." 
What it boiled down to, he said, was simply "not giving in." 
I had frequently noted the similarity between confidence and 
fatalism among military men. Surely both qualities merge in 

How It Can Be Beat 295 

the very usual reaction, "Why should I worry? If a bullet 
hasn't got my name on it, I won't get hit." Curiously, men 
who had that sort of feeling frequently seemed able to get 
away with more than others. If it weren't so, soldiers like 
Douglas MacArthur wouldn't have lasted through their first 
baptisms under fire. 

The most important thing is anything that keeps your 
mind off the threats and horror of a situation, concluded 
Breen. He had spent much of his life in Mongolia, where he 
had been a guide for Sven Hedin on that explorer's second 
expedition. A lean, haggard, and tall man, he looked the part. 
He had only been six months out of prison when I met him, 
and his reactions were still fresh, although it was obviously 
too much of a strain for him to talk for any length of time 
on the subject. 

Confidence possesses other qualities, too, as my interviews 
made very evident. Confidence did not mean recklessness, al- 
though it equipped a man to take a chance which he other- 
wise would not consider. Frequently, lightning advantage has 
to be taken of the slightest opening if a guard is to be out- 
witted or any bold stroke attempted. Anything that detracts 
from clear-headedness converts it into mere deviltry, which 
usually leads to disaster. A daring action must be made de- 
liberately, without panic. That is where confidence — or this 
kind of fatalism — comes in. The same spontaneous co-ordina- 
tion a pilot requires for an emergency landing is called for. 

Out of the experiences of the brainwashed, another sur- 
vival element conspicuously shown was adaptability, which 
is the capacity to roll with the punch. The man who uses it 
feels out his enemy's tactics, fitting himself into them and 
manipulating the situation to his own advantage. The com- 
munists concentrate on trying to beat him down. His objec- 
tive, irrespective of whether he is a businessman arrested in 
peacetime or a soldier captured on the battlefield, is to pre- 
serve his physical and mental integrity. If he can keep think- 
ing offensively, his defenses fall into place naturally and he 
is able to adapt himself to the enemy's twists and turns. 

Bob Bryan and John Hayes and a great number of others 

296 Brainwashing 

who had intimate knowledge of the Chinese mind managed 
to do so. 

So long as such an individual kept his objective clearly in 
his mind, while watching for an opening, he was frequently 
able to find a safe hiding place inside the framework of the 
enemy's terminology and procedures. He fit his thought 
processes into the brainwasher's pattern of thinking, using 
the enemy's weapons against him. In doing so, he was only 
turning the tables on the communists themselves. One of the 
main approaches of the Red propaganda worker is to infil- 
trate himself into the thought patterns of his foe. A keen 
observer, a Frenchman named Henri Vetch, whom I first 
knew twenty years before in Peking when he was a young 
bookshop proprietor, expressed this very graphically for me. 
I met him again just after he had been released from prison, 
where he had been sentenced in connection with one of those 
fake plots with which the Reds come up every once in a 
while, this one being a conspiracy to lob a mortar shell over 
the wall of the Forbidden City just when Mao Tse-tung was 
passing on the other side, thus killing him. Henri had ob- 
served brainwashing at close quarters. "The Reds get furthest 
with Americans by using their own idealism against them," 
he told me. **By forming their arguments in the idealistic 
manner familiar to you Americans, they give you a guilt com- 
plex and find it much easier to provoke you into confessions 
that way." Surely there should be no scruples about using 
this same tactic against the Reds. 

Henri did so in a particularly baffling way for the indoc- 
trinators at the Peking Model Reform Prison, where he 
served two years of a ten-year term. He made a deep study 
of the most ancient books of China, especially the Book of 
Changes, and interpreted them extensively as the true foun- 
tain of communistic theory and almost everything else. His 
judge became so infuriated at times that he did an Indian 
dance around him, slapping and kicking him. Henri carefully 
wrote out an appeal, accusing the brainwasher of being un- 
true to the old Chinese principles of Mao Tse-tung, and came 

How It Can Be Beat 297 

up with so much double-talk on it from these classical sources 
that the Reds had to dispose of him some way, either by 
execution or expulsion. Chou En-lai at that moment was try- 
ing to wean France from the West, and so Henri was expelled 
from China. Henri had calculated his timing and had figured 
out that they did not want to kill him. 

Victims of brainwashing who are not acquainted with the 
enemy's traditions nor with communism cannot be expected 
to operate that way. But the American p.o.w.'s watched the 
changing Red tactics and changed their own accordingly. 
When a policy of indiscriminate collective punishment was 
being followed, the trick was to lay low and play a waiting 
game. When the enemy put on what it called a "lenient 
policy," individuals were encouraged to go ahead and try 
anything they thought would rattle the Reds. The fact was 
never lost sight of that harsh or lenient, these were only 
tactics in an unchanging strategy. 

Cutting Them to Size 

Deceit permeates the whole communist approach, and 
when a prisoner was able to use it successfully against the 
Reds, it had a stimulating effect on morale. The greatest Red 
deceit was their claim to omnipotence and omniscience. They 
deliberately set about making their victims feel that they 
were being faced by supermen who knew everything and 
could do anything. When a prisoner managed to make the 
Reds themselves fall for a deceit, he was able to bring them 
to earth with a thud. 

Bob Vogeler told me how he managed it. The communists 
acted like animals toward him, making animal demands, and 
so he said, "I decided to throw them a bone from time to 
time to chew on." He had no hesitation in telling them false- 
hoods if this succeeded in calling them off him for a while. 
In the meantime, he kept his mind busy thinking what to 
tell them next. He found them falling for his fanciful tales, 
and so began to lose respect for their ability. They could 

298 Brainwashing 

crack like anyone else! "They insisted they were invincible 
but I proved to myself they weren't," Vogeler said. 

He had to think up his tall tales carefully. When they did 
catch on at times, he managed to make them think he had 
made a natural mistake. He used real names but sometimes 
misspelled them so as to make what he said seem credible. 
"I'm not a good speller," he told them. "That's how it sounds 
to me. I'm not always right." He managed to get a particu- 
larly obnoxious Red agent provocateur into trouble by in- 
serting his name in an incidental manner in a statement. 
Vogeler's stamina went way up after that. Numerous p.o.w.'s 
from Korea told me about using the same tactic. Every time 
it worked, morale was given a big boost. The main achieve- 
ment was to cut the brainwasher down to size. 

Use of these infiltration tactics, from deceit and dissem- 
bling to adaptability and rolling with the punch, was every 
bit as legitimate against the communists as against an oppos- 
ing general in the field. The Reds do not differentiate in 
their ideology between peace and war; they recognize only 
communism and the enemy, which means everyone else. 
They are engaged in what they teach is a death struggle be- 
tween communism and all other systems. They believe that 
this conflict can be waged anywhere, at any time, under any 
guise, and that anything which weakens or destroys non- 
communists and anti-communists is a legitimate weapon. 

Deceit or dissembling belongs in the list of survival ele- 
ments. Deceit against the Reds is justifiable not only on the 
basis of it being a war tactic — a war at least against the 
sanctity of a man's mind — but because a streak of insanity 
runs through communism, as it did in Hitlerism. In Edgar 
Allan Poe's "Dr. Tarr and Dr. Fether," the inmates of an 
insane asylum change places with the wardens. That short 
story reads as if Poe were describing a twentieth-century 
brainwashing establishment. 

I noticed in my interviews that practically everyone who 
got out of the Red trap had to operate, wittingly or un- 
wittingly, as if he had been cornered by a madman waving a 
dagger in his hand. Anyone who tries talking logic at a time 

How It Can Be Beat 299 

like that is a corpse. The fanaticized assailant has to be 
humored and outmaneuvered. Some would readily use the 
word deceive, others prefer to call it dissembling. The Reds 
insisted on a kind of logic that was perverted and untrue, as 
their theory of unlimited responsibility amply showed. Those 
who were able to take advantage of this twisted Red philoso- 
phy as a cover and to help manipulate themselves to safety by 
it certainly had every reason to do so. 

High jinks was the most appropriate name I could find for 
a stamina-giving element that brought the full force of 
humor into action alongside several other stimulating ele- 
ments, such as deceit and adaptability. Crazy Week was high 
jinks at its best. Stunts of that sort were particularly effective 
in sapping Red morale, at the same time raising that of their 
victims. The indoctrinator was left wondering whether he 
was being flattered or insulted and, while he had a humiliated 
feeling over it, he wasn't able to do a thing because it would 
have made him lose even more face. 

In one typical instance, an American p.o.w. was summoned 
by a brainwasher who tried to inveigle him into a political 
trap. Instead of tiring his mind over it, the p.o.w. diverted the 
whole discussion by using an off-color slang expression 
which hardly anyone understood. The brainwasher, taking 
the bait, asked him what the phrase meant. 

"What!" the American exclaimed. "You don't mean to tell 
me you don't understand that!" 

No, the brainwasher answered awkwardly, he didn't. 

"Everybody knows what that means," the p.o.w. said, shak- 
ing his head as if stunned. Then he broke into a smile, saying, 
"You're kidding me, aren't you? You know what it means." 

The indoctrinator repeated that he didn't. The American 
stared at him, a look of pained disillusionment crossing his 
face. "How can you teach me anything if you don't even 
understand plain English?" he asked. The humiliated brain- 
washer never did get around to bringing up the real reason 
for summoning the prisoner. 

The temptation is very great to confuse such repartee with 
wisecracks, especially by Americans. But they are poles apart. 

300 Brainwashing 

Wisecracks arouse instant retaliation. A wisecrack is obvious, 
laying a man open to the accusation of showing a ** hostile 
attitude." The punishment for that in Korea was incarcera- 
tion in the hole. If a man were lucky, this would mean the 
low part of a Korean hut, where the flues are situated; if not, 
it meant a pit in the ground with a few logs shoved over the 
top for a roof. 

One of the most powerful elements for mental survival is 
to have a purpose. Nothing can snatch a man from total 
defeat or death faster than to have a purpose. The explosive 
discovery of a purpose in what previously had seemed to be 
only futile suffering kept men in the Death March alive, 
eager to see the fight through, where a moment before they 
were almost praying to die. That's what John Dunn achieved, 
a miracle of generalship that rang like a bell on that freezing 
day through those men's souls. 

When a man's nerves are strained to the utmost and all 
effort appears meaningless, he can squeeze out renewed en- 
durance by giving his suffering a purpose. Former prisoners 
of the Reds told me how a purpose could become an obses- 
sion that a man lived by. His fixation could be escape or 
revenge, the gathering of vital information, or anything else 
that makes life meaningful again, so that the men will cling 
to it tenaciously. The purpose must be genuine, something 
worth going through suffering to achieve, for it to be truly 
effective. Many a prisoner kept whole that way. Whether he 
had the patience of a Job or was as ornery as an old coot 
made no difference. If he came up with a good reason to go 
through his ordeal, he had made it endurable. 

Any purpose is a help, but the evidence I have gathered 
shows incontrovertibly that the purpose which has a broader 
perspective than one's own self provides the greater survival 
stamina. Indeed, it becomes two elements in one, because in- 
dividual survival then becomes necessary not for itself alone, 
but for the wider purpose to be achieved. 

Herb Marlatt, when he suddenly realized that the knowl- 
edge he was obtaining this very hard way was something his 
country had to know to save itself, was immediately given 

How It Can Be Beat 301 

two reasons to go through with his sufferings and survive. Yes, 
one objective was to continue to exist, but the other objective 
was to convert his suffering into something meaningful to the 
nation from which he had sprung. 

Call this additional purpose a sense of mission or a crusad- 
ing spirit, and it becomes another element in our list. With- 
out it, men like Dr. Hayes would have seen no sense in going 
on. What for? To linger in life for a few more years when 
one is already well past middle age? When people are dying 
all around one, death appears a trivial matter. If only one's 
own self were concerned, it would be trivial. 

If anyone doubts the decisive importance of this crusading 
spirit in survival, let him talk to some of the civilians or 
military personnel who have gone through brainwashing. 
What remained most firmly in one's mind after release from 
brainwashing was the crusading spirit. Those who possessed 
it had been among the most successful in frustrating their 

Back in the Free World again, I found them seizing every 
opportunity that came their way, going out of their way to 
create opportunities to fulfill the sense of mission which had 
given their ordeal a purpose. In some form or other, this 
crusading spirit was to arouse their fellow citizens to an 
appreciation of what the free society provides its people and 
to a realization of the menace to humanity in the new totali- 
tarian concept of brainwashing. Some called their crusade 
patriotism, others called it religion. Many gave it no special 
name, but busied themselves like beavers propagating the 
lessons they had learned when face to face with the faceless 
horror of mind control. 

There was yet another direction this crusading spirit took. 
Men like Hayes deliberately set themselves to the task of win- 
ning the enemy. They grasped the very simple fact that the 
brainwasher was a person like anyone else, that the people 
under communism were human like any other people, sus- 
ceptible to the same basic emotions, vulnerable to the same 
fundamental appeals. They were frustrated and unhappy 
men, sick, trapped, or fooled into evil. So long as they were 

302 Brainwashing 

infected with the communist virus, they were dangerous. But 
they might be cured. Most of them are not truly communistic, 
but are prisoners and hostages of their own system. Men like 
Hayes sensed that communism was very, very vulnerable, and 
what made it most vulnerable were the human beings to 
whom it entrusted its madhouse ideology. 

What gave a crusading spirit such extraordinary potency 
was that it took the man away from the mere defensive and 
put him on the offensive, itself a stimulating change in out- 

Group feelings belong to this list of stamina-producing 
elements. No communistic tactic is more relentlessly pursued 
than the rooting out of group connections, no matter how 
innocent of political content, so that no other outlet is left 
except that which communism itself provides. Anything that 
preserves group sense defeats this tactic. 

The mad Red fear of any group that exists outside his own 
controlled environment permeates the whole communist so- 
ciety, in or out of prison. Thus, Boy and Girl Scouts, Girl 
Guides, the Salvation Army, and weekly luncheon clubs such 
as the Rotary were considered subversive and truly danger- 
ous to the rigid Red structure, for they encouraged people to 
think as individuals. All of them were suppressed with as 
much vigor as any non-Red groups in the p.o.w. camps. 

Such group life as the prisoners were able to maintain or 
develop was therefore a disastrous setback for the brain- 
washers and a source of great strength for the p.o.w. 's. The 
Masonic group that remained undetected, the Golden Cross 
Club formed under the eyes of the Reds, and the under- 
ground that the p.o.w. 's gradually brought into existence, 
constituted elements of vitality. 

Group feelings never could be crushed entirely in the 
religious field. When Sam Davis, the British "Chaplain of 
the Church of the Captivity," as the p.o.w.'s called him in 
North Korea, was thrust into solitary confinement for "hold- 
ing Bible class without permission," the men defiantly gath- 
ered anyway and sang so loudly that he would have had to 
be stone deaf not to have heard. Tough top sergeants as well 

How It Can Be Beat 303 

as businessmen told me of the effectiveness of prayer in 
making them feel part of an unconquerable body, beside 
which communism was puny, indeed. 

The Reds divided the prisoners into small study groups, 
the easier to control and indoctrinate them. A group spirit 
grew up whenever the men devised ways of outwitting the 
brainwashers, making a farce of "learning." The sense of 
mutual companionship this gave was all the stronger because 
it sprouted in such a normal, healthy way. 

A virtually irrevocable rule, an element on which the suc- 
cess of all the others often depended, was the simple one of 
being natural, of being yourself. Some of the elements listed 
are already part of the character of any brainwasher's victim. 
These he should have no hesitancy in assuming and should 
even rely on them as his safest refuge. Others just do not fit 
a man's character. A missionary needs no urging to recognize 
the strength-giving qualities in the crusading spirit. A China- 
born lawyer can fit himself into the hair-splitting technicali- 
ties of the Reds. An ordinary military officer must depend on 
stark convictions and the clarity of mind that warfare de- 
mands. Each can benefit from all elements. But each must 
never allow himself to go out of character, for that is fatal. 
Of course, here too, the rule has to be made with the pro- 
vision that exceptions prove a rule, and adaptability should 
sometimes force a change. The rule nonetheless remains, as 
it has been down the ages, to be yourself. That means true 

These are the elements that have proven themselves, under 
the challenge of brainwashing, to be able to lick it. The 
pattern for mental survival as it disclosed itself out of the 
communist ordeal has more elements in it, more flexibility, 
and is susceptible of far greater interplay than can be found 
in the Red pattern for the destruction of men's minds. The 
person trapped by brainwashing, whether a prisoner from 
abroad or the unfortunate inhabitant of a country behind the 
bamboo-iron curtain, has plenty of weapons from which to 



The world by now has received ample proof that nothing 
emanating from a Red source can be believed. The ideology 
of the Communist Party — by teaching that truth is what 
conforms to its changing political line and that good is what 
helps the party — excuses any lie, atrocity, or aggression so 
long as it is pro-Red in intent. That is the inflexible standard. 
None other is recognized. Words and deeds that normally are 
regarded as deceitful and evil constitute routine procedure 
under communism. 

Evidence of this strategy of lies appears anywhere one hap- 
pens to be. There were two glaring examples within a fort- 
night while I was writing this concluding chapter in Singa- 
pore. In one, a woman appeared on the platform at a mass 
demonstration and, holding up a baby, cried out that neither 
she nor her child had been allowed to see or accompany her 
husband who was being deported to Red China. Subsequent 
information showed that she had refused to go with him and 
that it was not their baby, anyway! The baby had nothing to 
do with the case except as a callously used instrument for 
Red propaganda. 

Material I have gathered on the horrible murder of Gene 
D. Symonds, a liberal American correspondent in Singapore's 
Red riots of May, 1955, includes appalling details of com- 
munist atrocities. In one such, a human torch was made out 
of an Asian detective. The anniversary issue of the commu- 
nist-run World Federation of Trade Unions magazine has 
just come to me with the photo of this man before he died, 
showing him covered with blood and oil. Only the facts have 
been turned completely around. The caption has him "a 


3o6 Brainwashing 

Singapore worker attacked by police when on picket duty/* 

But such travesties o£ truth should no longer surprise any- 
one. They are local reflections of far bigger lies. The germ- 
warfare hoax and the faked doctors' plot in Moscow have no 
parallel in history. Never before has any government or offi- 
cial body descended to such depths of criminal libel and 
corruption of morality. Every facility at the disposal of Mos- 
cow and Peking was used at home and abroad to accuse the 
U.S. of waging bacterial warfare over huge areas of North 
China, Manchuria and Korea. In the doctors' plot, outstand- 
ing Russian physicians confessed to a hideous use of their 
profession to cause sickness and death among top men of the 
U.S.S.R. The case appeared airtight. Witnesses testified to 
every detail. A woman doctor received the Stalin prize and 
was nominated to run for high political office for her testi- 
mony for the prosecution. Then, after Stalin died and before 
his succession was straightened out, the same government 
ministry that had announced the news issued another rou- 
tinely worded communique saying it was all false, there had 
been no plot at all, every word of it was untrue! 

This same falsification is constantly being confirmed in 
everything the communists do, big or little. Certainly, on the 
basis of overwhelming evidence, no confession reported by 
the communists can be believed, no matter how overwhelm- 
ing the evidence appears. In each of their hoaxes, the Reds 
have painstakingly manufactured the evidence along with 
the confessions. 

Of course there have been lies told before and by govern- 
ments, too, but never, by the greatest stretch of imagination, 
has anything ever come near this policy of planned falsehood 
that underlies the entire official and unofficial Red structure. 
Whereas normally the truth is told and the lie is the excep- 
tion, in the lopsided Red world, the lie is*the customary pro- 
cedure and the truth is the exception. Red statistics have been 
thoroughly exposed as having only a propaganda relationship 
to real measurements. 

This poses a new and an unprecedented problem. The 
responsibility of free society is to let all the people in the 

A Matter of Integrity 307 

world know these facts, at home and abroad and on both 
sides of the bamboo-iron curtain. The Reds have been proven 
deliberate and consistent liars by their own mouths. When 
people realize this simple fact, which is so enormous that its 
implications escape the average man, the confession trick 
will be deprived of all its propaganda value to the Reds. 
People everywhere will sensibly meet every Red pronounce- 
ment of a new confession with a horse laugh. This knowledge 
of Red cupidity, when properly disseminated, will make the 
confession technique boomerang, removing one of the main 
props of brainwashing. Even its psychological value as an 
insidious manner of putting submission into the subconscious 
minds of their people will be radically reduced. The make- 
believe in the brainwasher's chamber will become that much 
more difficult. 

The confession problem is universal under communism. 
The military phase of it is receiving the main attention at 
this time because of the sudden need by military forces to 
deal with it, as brought to a head in the Korean War. Actu- 
ally, like health problems, this is just as much or more a 
public issue. Incalculable numbers of human beings residing 
inside the communist bloc are being forced to go through 
with this vicious act. Whenever a foreigner is available and 
the Red secret police feel some advantage can be taken of 
him, he is arrested and given the treatment. The only way to 
pull the rug out from under this tactic is by world-wide 
exposure of it. 

In dealing with the mind, as with the body, each individual 
is a case by himself, requiring individual attention. No spe- 
cific set of rules can be devised to apply the same way to 
everyone. This is just as true for those who go into an infected 
area as for those who come out. Each mind and each phy- 
sique differs slightly from every other. The safest guide in 
this morass is to adopt the kind of approach health officers 
make. The situation is almost identical. Rules of mental 
hygiene are just as applicable in this field as are regulations 
for physical hygiene. 

A special problem has arisen in the military sphere as con- 

3o8 Brainwashing 

cerns information that might properly be given to an enemy 
interrogator and whether a soldier should or should not be 
permitted to confess. What appears obvious at once is that 
this problem has nothing to do one way or another with the 
plain fact that no statement from communist sources can be 
believed and no confession made inside the communist en- 
vironment can be given any credence by any reasonable body. 
That is a simple fact. The only time the truth can come from 
communist sources is when it suits their propaganda purpose. 

Irrespective of military policy in any part of the Free 
World, that should be evident. Each military service, in addi- 
tion, in relation to its own situation and objectives, must just 
as obviously define policy for its own personnel. As with 
everything else, it simply has to take reality into considera- 
tion if its decisions are to hold when the test comes. 

The only answer that can logically be made to this question 
is that the soldier should certainly be trained for any con- 
tingency that he may meet. Confession at times can be used 
as a weapon against the enemy. The objective always should 
be resistance and the destruction of the entire Red basis for 
mind atrocities. As in any other sphere, a line should be 
drawn and every normal effort made to meet it. Nobody 
should admit a single detail under Red pressure, but if facts 
have to be given under pressure, imaginations should be 
ready and trained to provide the sort of misinformation that 
will lead the brainwasher far astray. This should be just as 
much the tactic to be followed by anyone, from refrigerator 
salesman to professor of mathematics, who happens to fall 
into the coils of the brainwashers. 

The civilian nowadays can have as important or more im- 
portant strategic information in his head than a military 
officer. Comparatively few of the people actually engaged in 
scientific fields that are important for defense are in any 
military service. So long as the Reds indiscriminately seize 
anyone in pirate fashion who happens to be within their 
reach, any individual with vital strategic data should keep 
out of the danger area. I should not think that a civilian with 
a strategic secret should have any less responsibility to keep 

A Matter of Integrity 309 

it from the communists than a soldier. The war on minds is 
against civilians just as much as the military; it is a total 

Surely the least that can be expected of a soldier is that if 
seized he keep always in mind that he remains under mili- 
tary discipline while a prisoner, not ceasing to be a soldier, 
and that part of the responsibility that goes with this is to 
suffer wounds and to die if need be. The battle does not end 
with a man's capture. Nowadays, that is often where it really 
begins! The communists have arranged it that way. 

The most important Red purpose in brainwashing is not 
its employment against foreign enemies but against the popu- 
lations of communist countries themselves. They are always 
suspect to the Red hierarchy, actually its main enemies. In 
that area lies the field of battle where the main fight has to 
be waged and where the spread of knowledge, providing 
mental vaccination, can be of most good. In no other field is 
the offensive so much the best defense as in the ideological. 
Decent humanity has not the right to permit people to be 
caught in a controlled environment and to be made into 
guinea pigs for ultimate dehumanization under a perverted 
Pavlovian technique. 

The war against men's minds has for its primary objective 
the creation of what is euphemistically called this "new 
Soviet man." The intent is to change a mind radically so 
that its owner becomes a living puppet — a human robot — 
without the atrocity being visible from the outside. The aim 
is to create a mechanism in flesh and blood, with new beliefs 
and new thought processes inserted into a captive body. 
What that amounts to is the search for a slave race that, un- 
like the slaves of olden times, can be trusted never to revolt, 
always to be amenable to orders, like an insect to its instincts. 
The intent is to atomize humanity. 

That is the ghastly form which the conception of the "new 
Soviet man" has taken. Secrecy and the darkness of a con- 
trolled environment are required for it to work. Wherever 
this secrecy is denied to the Reds or the controlled environ- 
ment penetrated, brainwashing cannot succeed. 

310 Brainwashing 

Surely there can no longer be a trace of doubt that brain- 
washing is sheer evil. The fight against it is the culminating 
issue of all time, in which every human being is a protagonist. 
There can be neither escape nor neutrality where such 
responsibilities lie. 

There can be neither front nor rear, for the great lesson 
that came from the brainwashing chambers was that while 
every man has a cracking point, every man's cracking point 
can be immensely strengthened. That is the job of home, 
school, and church. The mother, teacher, and pastor are in 
the front lines in this ideological conflict, and every word 
they say to their sons and daughters is important to the 
struggle, for character more than anything else will determine 
the outcome. 

Truth is the most important serum and integrity the most 
devastating weapon that can be used against the totalitarian 
concept. Facts can demolish the entire fake communist para- 
dise. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with the task of 
getting those facts across to the people who need and can 
use them. 

The men who went into battle in Korea against the tanks 
and minds of the communist forces had not been given a hint 
regarding Red brain warfare. That is what gave the com- 
munist brainwashing machine the expectation of easy propa- 
ganda pickings among the captives. 

Only an informed people can shoulder their responsibili- 
ties effectively. When free men know both what they are 
fighting against and what they are fighting to preserve and 
enhance, they are unbeatable, stronger than any strategy. 

What is absolutely essential is that the full facts be given 
to all our people, for mind warfare is total war. This ap- 
proach can make our struggle for the mind the crusade it 
should be. Never since man received reason beyond the 
instincts of animal kind has there been a more important 
issue. In the fight to give man forever the opportunity to 
develop, every possible weapon must be utilized on the field 
of battle, which is everywhere. There is no "behind the 
lines" any longer. 


Alden, Robert, 222 

Alexander, Field Marshal Harold, 188 

Attlee, Clement, 214 

Bailey, Cpl. Charles, 192 

Batchelor, Cpl. Claude, 6, 217, 242, 

275, 284 
Beadle, Cpl. Rickey, 191 
Bersohn, Malcolm, 13 
Bevan, Aneurin, 214 
Breen, Arthur J., 294-5 
Bryan, Robert T., 212, 233, 273, 295 
Burchett, Wilbur, 73, 129, 130-1, 188 
Chambers, Pfc Walter, 104 
Chambers, Whittaker, 284 
Chao Chin-yun, 282-4 
Chiang Kai-shek, 160 
Chi Sze-chen, 199 
Chou En-lai, 297 
Churchill, Winston, 188 
Davis, Sam, 302 
Dean, Mrs. Ruth, 50 
Dean, Sam, 50-64 
Dean, Maj. Gen. William F., 217, 

219, 288 
Dean, Capt. Zach, 125-128 
Dunn, John J., 118-9, 300 
Eisler, Gerhart, 128 
Feng, 66, 69 
Freedom, Dr. Leon, 17, 19, 26-7, 243- 

Freedom, Mrs. Virginia, 26 
Freeman, Russell, 101-06, 250 
Gamble, Sidney, 60 
Gantt, Dr. W. Horsley, 34, 37 

Gide, Andr^, 36 

Hamlin, Mrs. Frances, 288 

Harrison, Lt. Thomas D., 127 

Hayes, Dr. John D., 64-88, 274, 295, 

Hedin, Sven, 295 
Hitler, 25, 236 
Hoover, Edgar J., 72 
Hulse, Dr. Wilfred, 259 
Kirov, S.M., 35 
Kornfeder, Joseph Z., 267 
Korostevetz, Michael, 33, 38, 40 
Krasner, Capt. Ben, 219 
Kuo Mo-jo, 261 
Laughlin, Dr. Henry P., 207 
Lenin, 39-40 
Ling, 46-8 
Liu, Mary, 275-9 
Lunn, Roosevelt, 93-101 
MacArthur, Gen. Douglas, 66, 295 
MacGhee, Maj. David F., 153-83, 288 
Mao Tse-tung, 74, 159, 171, 187, 211, 

227, 240, 278, 296 
Marlatt, Capt. Herbert E., 117-25, 300 
Marlin, 44-50 
Marx, Karl, 40 
Meerloo, Dr. Joost A. M., 4 
Mills, Miss Harriet, 214 
Mindszenty, Cardinal, 9, 64, 233 
Noel, Frank, 125, 128-32 
Oatis, William N., 200 
O'Connor, Frank, 19 
Ori, Lt. John A., 235 
Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich, 17-41, 262 



Index of People 

Perleberg, Max, 4 

Peterson, Col. Donald B., 12 

Foe, Edgar Allan, 223, 298 

Portecorvo, Prof. Bruno, 14 

Powell, John, 225 

Quinn, Lt. John S., 103 

Ramzin, Prof., 240 

Rand, Ayn, 19 

Rickett, Mrs. Adele Austin, 14 

Schwable, Col. Frank H., 6, 167, 267 

Stalin, 25, 37 

Stell, Cpl. Robert, 106-15 

Stockwell, Rev. Olin, 289-93 

Stuart, Leighton, 56, 60 

Sun Yat-sen, 6, 70, 276 

Sykes, Sgt. Arthur Bertram, 187 

Symonds, Gene D., 305 

Tan, 282-3 

Thimayya, Lt. Gen. K.S., 221 

Trotsky, 240 

Upjohn, Cpl. Frank, 192 

Varney, John, 192 

Vetch, Henri, 296-7 

Vogeler, Robert A., 199, 212, 272-3, 

Wang, Gen., 161-3 
Wei, 148-50 

Westwood, William, 185-97 
Wilkins, Sgt. Robert, 132-44, 185 
Winnington, Alan, 73, 129, 130, 157 
Wiseman, Cardinal, 259 
Wood, Cpl. "Chip," 191 
Wright, Frank, 18-9 
Wyatt, Robert Lee, 101-6, 250 


Conversation and Communication, book by Dr. Joost A.M. Meerloo, 4 

"Treatment of British Prisoners of War in Korea," White Paper issued by 
Ministry of Defense, London, 14 

"Scientific Session on the Physiological Teachings of Academician I. P. Pav- 
lov," Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1951, 14 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 18 

1984, George Orwell, 19 

Anthem, Ayn Rand, 19 

"If," Rudyard Kipling's poem, 96 

China Monthly Review, 150, 225 

History of the Communist Party, Short Course, Stalin, 177 

Daily Worker, London, 189, 191 

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong newspaper, 221 

New York Times, 222 

Liberation Daily, Communist newspaper, Shanghai, 227 

Kwangming Daily, Communist newspaper, Peking, 262 

Bible, 273, 276 

Reader's Digest, 284 

"Dr. Tarr and Dr. Fether," short story by Poe, 298 

World Trade Union Movement, organ of Moscow-dominated World Federa- 
tion of Trade Unions, 305 



COHAC,-„'i"„"„340 %%.^Y„"'-"» 

VP^*^3 / cop 9 
^ Hunter 


AUTHOR , ■ — 

Brainwashing: The story of Men 


who defied it. 


131.33 c6p 9 



Brainwashing: The story of men who 
defied it. 

i\a 67:7 

HQ f 0"' !i^" !!,?8ase, Georgia